Kinect sales through the roof, open-source hacks get clever

We’re big fans of Kinect, Microsoft’s “motionless controller” for the Xbox 360, here at developerFusion. Well, we’re actually fonder of plugging it into a PC and building cool apps on top of it.

Among the huge pile of announcements coming out of CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas today, Microsoft have announced that they have shipped over 8 million Kinect devices to retailers. This isn’t how many that have been sold, but given how hard it is to get hold of one the number isn’t going to be far off how many are in living rooms. This is following 1 million units in 10 days and 2.5 million units in 25 days – the sales rate is only going up.

But that’s enough about sales numbers – what about the super-cool hacks? Well Microsoft themselves have been getting in on the act; Steve Ballmer announced a new application that will be “free” (for Xbox Live Gold accounts at least) called Avatar Kinect. The app is a social environment where Xbox Live users can get together from their sofas in a variety of sets and upload the videos online. The tech that has been added is that Kinect now tracks facial expression as well as full body motion, mapping it all to your avatar on the screen. Steve Ballmer demos it best himself. Meanwhile in the open-source community, a video of a similar application has since emerged, allowing the user to become a “superhero” with various weapons added virtually. It also features full-body motion tracking, but not face expressions just yet.

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