Kinect: Photos of the best hacks
From invisibility cloaks to remote-controlled robots...
Kinect was born as an entertainment device - a motion-tracking sensor bar to allow video gamers to control virtual characters with a wave of the hand or kick of the leg.
But beyond its function as a controller for the Xbox 360 games console, technology enthusiasts have been putting the Microsoft peripheral to some futuristic uses.
Since getting their hands on the Kinect, developers have been writing their own drivers to get the Kinect to work with other devices, ranging from PCs to robots.
Among other things, the device has been hacked to teach computers to recognise objects, control robots and create virtual 3D models of the real world - someone's even considering its use as a remote control for a toilet seat. Here is silicon.com's round-up of the most inventive Kinect hacks so far.
This picture shows a robot, based on a Kondo KHR-1HV, being controlled with Kinect using gestures - in this case with the controller pushing out his arms to make the robot do press-ups.
You can watch a full video of the Kinect robot workout session here.
Screenshot credit: taylorveltrop/YouTube.com
How about using Kinect to carry out surgery?
While it's unlikely to find its way into real operating theatres anytime soon, this video of mock surgical procedures taken in the John's Hopkins University in Baltimore shows the versatility of the device.
Here, Kinect is being used by the operator to control the robot arm and sew shut the incision you can see on the left of the screen.
The demonstration procedures were carried out using Kinect and a da Vinci robotic surgical system controlled by custom-built software at the university's Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics.
Screenshot credit: npadoy/YouTube.com
Thanks to its in-built depth sensor, Kinect can be used to build 3D models of objects and indoor locations.
This virtual model of an office space was captured by scanning the room with Kinect.
Software is used to take the visuals captured by the camera and then place objects in a 3D space using the information captured by Kinect's depth sensor.
Screenshot credit: NikolasEngelhard/YouTube.com
This clever demo shows how Kinect can be used to teach a computer to recognise objects.
Using the hack, the computer is taught to recognise simple objects such as stuffed toys, allowing the machine to speak the objects' names when they are placed in front of the Kinect camera.
The hack pairs Kinect with a variety of software - OpenCV for image processing and recognition, FestVox for speech synthesis and CMU Sphinx for speech recognition.
Screenshot credit: yankeyan/YouTube.com
Both the model robot and the person controlling it are getting a workout thanks to this hack.
The hack uses Kinect to track the movements of a person and then command the robot to mirror those movements in real time.
In this shot, the hack has been used to get the robot to copy arm movements.
Screenshot credit: ikaziso/YouTube.com
Users of this hack - thankfully no more than a concept - would have no excuse for leaving the toilet seat up.
The user is able to lift or shut the toilet seat by raising or lowering their hand, with seat movements accompanied by a suitably futuristic swishing sound.
Given the choice, this is one job most people would probably rather do by hand, especially if the alternative means having a high-tech camera in their bathroom.
Screenshot credit: primalproduction/YouTube.com
This Kinect hack allows the user to fly a drone using nothing more than gestures.
In the demo, Kinect is used to control a Parrot AR Drone, a quadricopter that is normally flown using an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch app, or from a Linux computer via its onboard wi-fi.
The hack allows the user to fly the drone around the room before returning the craft to its landing pad.
Screenshot credit: lhar99/YouTube.com
This hack allows Star Wars fans to get their hands on a virtual lightsaber.
Kinect is used to track the movements of the user wielding a wooden stick, and a computer renders the lightsaber over the top of the stick in real-time.
Screenshot credit: yankeyan/YouTube.com
While turning invisible using optical camouflage remains the realm of science fiction, this Kinect hack offers the next best thing.
The hack uses Kinect to replace images of the user with a shimmering transparent outline in real-time, creating an invisibility effect similar to that seen in the Predator films.
Screenshot credit: TakayukiFukatsu/YouTube.com
You might ask why you would want to control Windows 7 using your hands when a computer mouse does a perfectly good job.
That question hasn't stopped this hack - which allows you to move windows around the desktop using hand gestures - from being developed.
Screenshot credit: TheTVTaster/YouTube.com