Clone the kinect already

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Clone the kinect already

Postby ENKI-][ » February 23rd, 2011, 10:12 am

The launch of the Kinect was an ace business move for Microsoft. By threatening litigation preemptively on anyone who tries to make a driver for it, they successfully riled up the anti-Microsoft crowd enough to preorder a tonne of these units; the sudden change of heart was no-doubt planned. Microsoft played us like a kazoo, getting those people who are most ideologically opposed to their way of doing business to throw money at them.

Let's not cry over spilled milk, but let's not spill more.

We know how the Kinect works. We have similar projects ourselves. We know how the Kinect interfaces with computers. We have the technology: we can build a better, faster, less monopolized Kinect-equivalent so that people can easily do all the things that people currently do with Kinects, but without feeding the Microsoft Leviathan.

Legal notes: I am not a lawyer. Sale of a Kinect clone might be grounds for suit, though a company as big as Microsoft never needs grounds in order to sue. Distribution of designs for a Kinect clone (especially a simple one, easy to build or print) should not constitute grounds for suit, but Microsoft does not need legal grounds in order to sue. A Kinect clone should be so easy to design and build that it constitutes a trivial improvement upon existing technologies, thereby invalidating any patent claims used in litigation, but suits involving large corporations rarely rely upon legitimacy of claims: they are wars of attrition.
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Re: Clone the kinect already

Postby MS3FGX » February 23rd, 2011, 2:12 pm

I am pretty sure it is completely impossible for the community to build a Kinect clone that is both equal in quality and cheaper than the real one. An incredible amount of research and work went into building the Kinect, and Microsoft has an unbeatable volume discount for the components.

Even if the community could eventually design a Kinect clone that had 100% of the functionality of the real one, and the price was comparable, the only advantage of the entire enterprise would be simply to prevent giving Microsoft money. I think there are much more worthy projects and causes that the community could work towards.
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Re: Clone the kinect already

Postby ENKI-][ » February 23rd, 2011, 2:30 pm

I'm not sure I see how it would be difficult or expensive to clone a Kinect. In terms of hardware, it's a webcam, an IR laser diode, and a splitter filter, isn't it? The main effort would be in software, and open source software exists that does very similar things. If you throw out the problem of signal compatibility and don't process the video onboard, you have something approaching off-the-shelf no-fabrication hardware and minimal modifications to existing software.
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