Microsoft Is Happy That Smart People Are Having Fun With Kinect

Microsoft has resisted the urge to get upset over smart people playing with their new toy in a way they hadn’t intended, says the NYT.

For example, here’s a video made by a computer scientist who is using the Kinect to make “holographic” video images that look like… well, they look like what happens when I read books about physics and lamely attempt to visualize adding more dimensions to spacetime.

The NYT says he specializes in virtual reality and dropped everything to ride his bike to the nearest game store to get it. His YouTube channel is filled with his ongoing experiments with the device.

The NYT says that after an initial round of “vague threats,” Microsoft was quick to embrace the various smart people.

“Anytime there is engagement and excitement around our technology, we see that as a good thing,” said Craig Davidson, senior director for Xbox Live at Microsoft. “It’s naïve to think that any new technology that comes out won’t have a group that tinkers with it.”


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  1. GMFish says:

    Anytime there is engagement and excitement around our technology, we first send out vague threats. After a while someone finally comes to their senses and then we see it as a good thing.

    • qwickone says:

      That’s better than most companies, who tend to go the Cease and Desist route. I’ll give them their propers for coming to their senses quickly.

    • nbs2 says:

      Not so much. The threats and the promotion are addressing two very distinct issues:

      1) The threats were directed toward those who had intention of reverse engineering the firmware for the Kinect. MS still frowns upon that.

      2) The promotion is being directed toward those that are utilizing the data stream from the Kinect, which has always been open for users to access.

      Now, would MS have made 2 but for the negative reaction to 1? Probably not, but there is nothing inconsistent about their response.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    In other words, a Microsoft exec sent out a message of outrage at fooling with their technology, and then a bunch of other staff that actually know what’s going on in the real world explained to him that this is normal. One even pointed out that these people are still buying the product, so it’s good for business, and was subsequently promoted.

    The End.

    • smartmuffin says:

      That doesn’t sound like the business world to me.

      I’m guessing the guy who sent out the threats was promoted and the ones who explained how this was actually a good thing were fired.

      • Happy13178 says:

        Its the best of both worlds. Microsoft has made noises about expanding Kinect well beyond just the gaming world. Some exec got angry, some others told him this is how things work, and then a third person told him that they can wait for a REALLY smart guy to hack it and make something REALLY cool. So they can steal the idea, claim it was theirs all along, and make $$$. THAT sounds like the business world.

    • sonneillon says:

      That assumes the execs actually know what is going on. If I were taking a guess I would say that their legal team sent the threats and their PR team are all for it. And the execs read it on the consumerist and get annoyed that nobody told them.

  3. jeffjohnvol says:

    Hackerspaces across the country are having a blast with these. You should see if your city has one. Look for LVL1 in Louisville, NoiseBridge in SanFran, plus hundreds of others in other cities.

  4. Mike says:

    Shocking!!!! You mean people actually like it when they can manipulate their products in any way they want?

    I wish Sony and Apple would take note. Heck, I wish all electronic manufacturers would take note.

  5. TheGreySpectre says:

    Unfortunately MS won’t allow for the xbox algorithms to be used, but still there is some cool stuff being done with them.

  6. b.k. says:

    Taaaaaake onnnnnn meeeeee…. (Take! On! Me!) Taaaake meeeeee onnnnnnn…

  7. Jesse says:

    All this makes me think of is all that spy movie crap where they rotate and enhance footage from satellites, security cameras, etc.

  8. Press1forDialTone says:

    And now ladies and gentlemen, another episode of:

    What I Do Instead of Having a Life!

    Now a word from our sponsor, Microsoft!

  9. LordXar says:

    Is there some reason this couldn’t be done with a standard web cam and some existing software. I am not sure why I should care.

  10. Andy S. says:

    So incredibly lame.