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Kinect hack lets you see your own skeleton

Add this one to the long list of Kinect hacks: a system that acts as a virtual X-ray, letting viewers see inside themselves in real time.

Kinect X-ray hack
Oops. His spine appears to be dislocated. Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Fortunately for the guy at right, the image overlaying his torso does not show his real skeleton. Else the poor dude's spine would be located a little too far left for our comfort.

The image is actually an augmented-reality 3D CT overlay from another person that's being used in tests of a Kinect hack aimed at letting viewers see their own skeletons.

Microsoft's motion- and depth-sensing Kinect is positioned next to a big screen. When viewers stand (or dance or sway) in front of the system, it acts like a "magic mirror" that displays a virtual X-ray window in real time.

Researchers in the Technical University of Munich's Computer Aided Medical Procedures & Augmented Reality group developed the prototype system using OpenNI and PrimeSense NITE applications. The researchers currently envision the setup as a tool for teaching anatomy rather than an alternative to real-time CT scans (though with some refining, that could come too).

Since the Kinect's release last fall, hackers have found all sorts of creative ways to put the sensor bar's 3D imaging capabilities to good use. Among them: tweaks that turn the sensor bar into a 3D camera, allow for multitouch photo manipulation without the need for a touch screen, and make it possible to create midair 3D doodles.