November 23rd, 2010, 19:41 PM
Microsoft Gives Green Light To Kinect 'Hackers'
Microsoft's Webcam-style add-on Kinect is easily hackable, but don't expect to hear the software giant sharpening its legal swords to stop intrusions any time soon.
Microsoft's Kinect, the Xbox 360's motion sensor peripheral, enables users to control and interact with games by using body motions as opposed to a manual controller. The peripheral was recently discovered to be vulnerable to hackers, who have, among other things, manipulated the device to create Star Wars–style light sabers, shadow puppets and robots.
But if anything, Microsoft is giving hackers the green light to flex their creative muscle and repurpose the Kinect device for their own pet IT projects.
Alex Kipman, Microsoft director of incubation for Xbox, told NPR's Talk of the Nation that the company intentionally wrote an open-source PC driver that opens up the USB connection, "which we didn't protect by design, and read as the inputs from the sensor," he said.
That unprotected USB connection leaves a wide open door for the peripheral to be made compatible with a PC. Users could subsequently use the acquired data to create their own application projects, Kipman said.
"The sensor again, as I talked earlier, has eyes and ears and that's a whole bunch of, you know, noise that someone needs to take and turn into signal," he said.
Full story: CRN