Bounty offered for open-source Kinect driver

Adafruit Industries, leaders in open-source hardware development, have offered $1,000 to the first person or team to create an open-source driver for Microsoft's new Kinect motion control system.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read

The first person or team to come up with an open-source driver for Kinect could win $1,000 from Adafruit Industries. Microsoft

Update at 4:03 p.m. PT: This story has been modified with response from Microsoft.

The first person who figures out how to build an open-source driver for Microsoft's much-hyped new Kinect motion controller could win a $2,000 bounty offered by a leading open-source hardware developer.

Kinect, which launched today, is currently available solely for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and may well someday be extended to the Windows platform. But for New York-based Adafruit Industries, that's not enough.

And that's why Adafruit--led by MIT Media Lab alum Limor Fried and Make magazine Senior Editor Phillip Torrone--is offering two grand to someone who can figure out how to decouple the hot new device from Microsoft's gaming machine.

The bounty will go to the "first person or group to upload code and examples under an open-source license to (social-coding site) GitHub."

"It's amazing hardware that shouldn't just be locked up for Xbox 360," Torrone told CNET by e-mail. "Its 'radar camera' being able to get video and distance as a sensor input from commodity hardware is huge."

But Microsoft isn't taking kindly to the bounty offer. "Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products," a company spokesperson told CNET. "With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant."

Still, according to Torrone, Adafruit is hoping someone will figure out how to use Kinect in education, robotics, or "fun outside the Xbox."

"We think First Robotics could use this," Torrone said. "We think educators could use this. Look at all the cool stuff people did with the Wii remote."

Torrone added that while Adafruit could likely come up with a Kinect driver itself, "we don't have the time. We can offer a bounty...and we think we'll see a million ideas flourish once anyone can plug this in to whatever they want.

Update at 5:07 p.m. PT: Adafruit has raised the bounty from $1,000 to $2,000 in response to Microsoft's position on the offer.