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Bits Of Microsoft's Kinect Code Now Open Source

Because gesture sensing on a Windows PC wants to be free.

Microsoft's Kinect device is almost more famous for the numerous ingenious hacks surrounding its 3-D gesture-reading sensors than it is for its use as an Xbox controller. Now Microsoft has made a move that can only boost hacks and create innovative, possibly improved code for the sensors themselves: Some of the code is now open source.

A blog posting (from last week that slipped oddly quietly into the universe) notes that the code uploads include "a total of 22 unique samples in C#, C++, and Visual Basic."

The code is released under an Apache 2.0 License, which effectively allows anyone to "reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or Derivative Works thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, and in Source or Object form" with the condition that the license be passed on with any subsequent inventions based on the code. Which means MS has really unchained this code for Kinect, without holding back control. Considering Microsoft's checkered past with spyware and DRM, the move to promote Kinect stands out somewhat. On the other hand, Microsoft's next-gen Xbox is due soon, and rumors suggest it'll have a similarly next-gen Kinect system built in.

In the future do you think you'll be waving at your PC instead of typing? Can Microsoft use Kinect to make itself cool again?

[Image: Flickr user visiophone]