5 Sci-Fi Technologies People Achieved By Hacking the Kinect

#2. Minority Report-Style OS

Minority Report was a movie about the slick future of computer graphical user interfaces. Menus weren't clicked on and scrolled through with a mouse; they were expanded, thrown about, manipulated with a flourish and a gesture. Oh, and we guess there was some stuff about predicting the future or something? We don't know; we were too busy ogling the shiny new OS.

And then figuring out a way to surf porn with it.

The Hack:

By default, the Kinect only tracks whole-hand movement, but it can be modified to track individual fingers as well. With even further hacking, which we're going to assume consists mostly of Rollerblading and CGI effects, it's even capable of some Minority Report-style interface control. There's the simple manipulation of images with your fingertips, like an iPhone in the air:

Or you could take it the extra mile, and enable manipulation of the actual workspace environment in response to your body position:

Notice how the menus in that video are activated not via meek finger movements, but by full body thrusts and dramatic uppercuts. Sure, it might not be as efficient as mouse clicks and keystrokes, but we'd certainly spend a lot more time in the office if every quarterly financial report was compiled via Bloodsport-style cage-fighting your computer into submission.

BAM! Dude just minimized the FUCK out of that bitch!

So What Does This Mean for Gaming?

Awesome. New. Menus.

Hell, 95 percent of any strategy, sim or role-playing game is spent in the menus anyway; might as well make that feel more like time spent hacking into Gibson's cyberspace and less like time spent micro-managing Excel forms. Or take a look at this video. "God" games like SimCity and From Dust take on a whole new appeal when you're conducting yourself through virtual cityscapes like a maestro of unholy destruction. Plus, that intense Koala vs. Mountainscape fighting game they start playing at about 39 seconds in looks like it just might be the next Mortal Kombat.

As long as it doesn't have that cheap ankle-kick shit.

#1. Lightsabers

Let's not kid ourselves: You're reading Cracked. Just playing the odds, you've seen Star Wars several hundred times, read countless essays about it and might have even written snotty comments about the extended universe addressed to ignorant Internet comedians. It is highly unlikely that there are attractive members of the opposite sex watching you read this right now; you don't have to pretend you don't know what a lightsaber is.

"GAH! What is this witchcraft?!"

The Hack:

Rule 34c: If it exists, nerds will somehow use it to re-enact Star Wars. This particular nerd hacked his Kinect camera to track a wooden stick and then overlaid a glow outline on the screen. As you can see from the not-at-all-embarrassing mirror in front of the monitor, the movement is tracked 1:1 in real time. The program even mimics the sweet whoosh sound whenever the broomstick -- er, sorry, saber -- changes directions.

So What Does This Mean for Gaming?

LucasArts has been trying, and dramatically failing, to get lightsabers right in video games for several decades now. Roughly half of all current video game players would never buy another game if you could give them a real-time lightsaber emulator. It's literally all some of us are waiting for. If a game studio could adopt this technology into a Bushido-blade-like fighting game, wherein the player bats away lasers, parries incoming enemy saber blows and callously lops off Sith hands with 1:1 accurate motion capture, the amount of money suddenly flowing into their pockets would offset the weight of the Earth and throw it out of its orbit, sending us all slowly drifting into the sun.

And we wouldn't even care, because fucking lightsabers.

For more on gaming, check out 9 Video Game Easter Eggs That Took Years to Find and The 7 Commandments All Video Games Should Obey.

And stop by LinkSTORM to see how you can hack your Xbox with a hammer.

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