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Microsoft reverses course, says Kinect left open by 'design'

Despite earlier protestations that it did not "condone" hacking of its Kinect motion-controller, Microsoft representatives tell NPR's "Science Friday" that the device was left open by "design."

Microsoft representatives say the Kinect interface was left unprotected by design.
Microsoft representatives said today in an interview the Kinect interface was left unprotected by design.

Microsoft representatives appearing on National Public Radio's "Science Friday" today said that the company's Kinect motion-controller was left open by "design," despite earlier comments by the company that it did not "condone" Kinect's hacking.

A tweet by the "Science Friday" staff read "(Xbox director of incubation) Alex Kipman says Kinect interface was left unprotected 'by design.' [And Microsoft's] Shannon Loftis says she's 'inspired' by community finding new uses."

But earlier this month, in response to a $3,000 challenge by the open-source hardware outfit Adafruit Industries to come up with a hardware hack of the Kinect, Microsoft had said it did not "condone" such behavior.

Now, Adafruit is clearly feeling vindicated by the apparent turn of events. "Congrats to everyone in the open source community," Adafruit wrote on its blog. "In about one week we turned [Microsoft's contention that it would stop hacking of the Kinect by working] 'closely with law enforcement' to 'inspired' by community finding new uses for Kinect."

This post will be updated as soon as possible with comment from Microsoft.