While Xbox 360 gamers smack each other around playing games with the Microsoft Kinect, the PC sector has seen quite a bit of Kinect-related activity by way of drivers and apps. Just recently a set of open-source drivers for Linux became available, the result of a $3000 bounty supplied by an Adafruit Industries contest.
However the latest "hack" arrives by way of UC Davis visualization researcher Oliver Kreylos in a tool that captures the Kinect's infrared and color cameras, mapping the photographic aspect onto the "depth" video stream.
"[It's] based on the reverse engineering work of Hector Martin (marcan42 on twitter and YouTube)," he explained. "I didn't use any of his code, but the 'magic incantations' that need to be sent to the Kinect to enable the cameras and start streaming. Those incantations were essential, because I don't own an Xbox myself, so I couldn't snoop its USB protocol. The 3D reconstruction code is entirely written from scratch in C++, using my own Vrui VR toolkit for 3D rendering management and interaction."
The resulting application generates a wild image that almost projects Kreylos forward while providing a scribbled, outline appearance as seen in the old 1985 A-HA video, Take On Me. As seen in the video below, the app really gets interesting when Kreylos begins to manipulate the entire view while he's talking, rotating the image until you can see the other side of his otherwise flat appearance. Nope, no brains and guts, just a reverse "texture."
It wouldn't be surprising to see Kreylos or other developers purchase additional Kinect devices and incorporate them into similar apps. In this case, three additional views could provide front, back, and another side view, allowing him to create a more 3D-like image. Then again, that's another $450. Would it be worth it?