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Google Engineer Wants You to Hack Microsoft’s Kinect

Engineer Matt Cutts, one of Google’s more public faces, is offering a cash prize for the best open-source and Linux-based projects built on Microsoft’s Kinect.

The Kinect is something we’ve been excited about for a while; its motion-sensing technology has the ability to completely change how we play video games.

Cutts thinks the Kinect is exciting, too. On his personal blog, he writes, “Before I joined Google (Google), I was a grad student interested in topics like computer vision, motion self-tracking, laser scanners–basically any neat or unusual sensing device… If I were still in grad school, I’d be incredibly excited–there’s now a $150 off-the-shelf device that provides depth plus stereo and a lot more.”

So Cutts is offering $2,000 in prizes to the people who can come up with the coolest hacks for the Kinect.

A $1,000 prize will be given to the developer or developers who create the best open-source program or demo using the Kinect. A second $1,000 prize will be awarded to the dev or devs who make it simplest to write Kinect programs on Linux (Linux).

Cutts notes that devs can use the Kinect without an Xbox attached. The device has a 3-axis accelerometer, a controllable motor and four mics to play with, and its outputs include a 640×480 color video stream and a 320×240 depth stream, which is pictured in the video below.

Some of the projects Cutts imagines could come from this contest include a gesture-based, holographic UI (which we’d love to see and use, ourselves); AR games; and even multi-device setups that allow for true 3D.

What could you imagine doing — or hack, youself — with a Microsoft Kinect?

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