Will the new Kinect be hackable for artists and developers?

Some of the best speculation I’ve seen yet actually shows up here in CDM comments. So, it’s worth elevating this to a news story, just in case you missed it. In short, the answer appears to be yes. I’m hopeful in particular for Microsoft’s own official developer tools when Kinect hits Windows next year, as I think it’s really the PC world that will be the most expressive and open. From an anonymous CDM reader calling him or herself “n4cer”:

Though the port for the Kinect on Xbox One is proprietary, this is no different from the original Kinect. The port on the 360 slim supplied both power (Kinect’s power requirements are greater than what a standard USB port can supply) and a USB 2.0 connection. For Kinect 2.0, it’s power + USB 3.0.

There are Microsoft and third-party adapters available for splitting the power and data into an AC adapter and standard USB connector. In addition to PCs, the non-slim Xbox 360s required such adapters. The situation could be a bit different with Kinect 2.0 since the only ones sold separately from the Xbox One will be the PC version, which will ship next year. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if adapters appeared prior to the launch of the PC version.

The New Generation Kinect for Windows Sensor is Coming Next Year [MSDN Blogs]

The hardware for Kinect 2.0 was developed internally by Microsoft.

“The highlight of the story is the CMOS sensor, which we developed internally,” Spillinger says. “This design was done completely, 100 percent on this site. This is brand-new technology. There is discontinuity between this technology and the first Kinect; from the technology perspective that we are using for depth, for 3D measurement. So this was done here. On this one, this was a complete Microsoft custom design, where our engagement is directly with the manufacturer. It’s not with any third party. We did the work. We do the qualification of the parts. We do the validation of the parts. We have done everything on this one.”

[Source:] Building Xbox One: An inside look at Microsoft’s play for the next generation of gaming [Engadget]

The only visible LEDs I’ve seen so far is a bank of three, arranged horizontally across the center of the device, possibly used for active IR illumination.


I haven’t seen anything specific online that points to the specs of the CMOS they’re using yet. They may share those details at the BUILD conference in June. This abstract may be related:

Ultra high-throughput single molecule spectroscopy with a 1024 pixel SPAD