Now a Google software engineer is offering two different $1,000 rewards for: writing the coolest “open-sourced” program for the Kinect, and for doing the most to make Kinect easy to use (via TGDaily.)
An open Kinect system, given the power of its motion capture, could make for a wide range of uses. Personally, I was saddened that I didn’t have an Xbox (I have a PS3 and a Wii) to try Kinect out when I details about the product came out, but these new hacks for the Kinect give me hope. Using Kinect and a computer or web-enabled TV could open up tons of possibilities for home use beyond gaming.
A Kinect-enabled house could allow ubiquitous control of anything within range, though I’m thinking most of these will be for hardcore modders. A more likely result would be that Xbox would see the possibilities from the mod community and co-opt those uses into the official software.
On the AR game front, assuming the tools created were easiest enough to use, we could see some creative home grown games that utilize the Kinect. However, the price of a Kinect sensor is pretty steep to play these types of games, especially when people are becoming used to the cheap prices for app games, so I doubt we’ll see much more than research projects. One can hope, though.