After Hours

Microsoft Kinect (Xbox 360) Teardown

Cracking Open the Microsoft Kinect

The Microsoft Kinect is an Xbox 360 peripheral that allows a "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience." Packed with cameras, microphones, an IR projector, and more, the Kinect is Microsoft's answer to the Nintendo Wii remote and the Sony Playstation Move controller.

Follow along as I crack open the Kinect for a look at the hardware inside.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic

Caption by: Bill Detwiler

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

19 comments
Shadetree Engineer
Shadetree Engineer

I was hoping there would be a little more info on the sensors. Are both video cameras using the same sensor? - Do these operate in a normal range of light as compared to a consumer sensor? Is one or both using IR illumination? Soley or as a hybrid light spectrum? There ought to be IR filters inside to tell some of that. Is that a peltier cooling device behind the IR module? Why call the IR module a 'projector', I thought it was an IR camera? All those microphones were a surprise to me, I'm betting on a 2-D source detection as to what's up with all the mics.

smankinson
smankinson

At the risk of sounding ignorant, why is this just now coming out? Was some technological advance needed? or was this a pricing issue?

Gonzalo34
Gonzalo34

The Prime Sense PS1080 is a smart chip that gets 3-D info from the CMOS camera, by reading the amount of IR light reflected back from objects. Basically, it thinks in terms of "the darker the pixel, the farther the object". The difficult part is mapping the light level v/s distance, and overlap the IR image to the actual video scene. Amazingly, all this algorithm and its parameters seem to fit in the 1Mbyte M29W800DB Flash memory at right. Great pictures, congrats!

jaomadn
jaomadn

Did you put i back i a working condition

jginnane
jginnane

Observations: 1. It seems a 2nd or 3rd gen Kinect should be consolidated onto a single mainboard. This one is way too complicated as a manual assembly for $150 retail. 2. The IR projector's limitations would explain optimal user distance. But why 4 microphones? They're too close to each other for sonic staging. 3. No breakdown on camera specs, but these modules can be upgraded at least 2 orders' magnitude in the existing frame. 4. We will know this product will have arrived when there is a user interface developed to program non-human movements -- from quadrupeds to birds to fish. In the meantime, I'd like to design a course for my Roomba. ;p

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

That the Projector is a Light Source for the Camera's so that the unit doesn't need any Ambient Light to work reliably. After all not every X Box will be used in [i]Normal[/i] light conditions. Of course if there is enough Light the unit will see further and not need to rely on the IR Light Source. ;) Col

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

they were scared to release it, in case Apple stole it for an iToy and claimed it was theirs. Actually, quite similar to the IR functionality in the iPad's screen.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I see you are running short on consonants today, I was in Hawaii for a bit so I just happen to have few extras for you, ttttttttt and nnnnnnnnnn. Just ask next time.

jeff_boggs
jeff_boggs

Hi, Could someone please provide information or a link to a site that describes how to connect a Kinect to a PC? I've seen the various hacks out there that people are using with Windows but I can't find how to do the actual hardware connection (assuming some kind of adapter between the Kinect and a USB port). Thanks, Jeff

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I thought Roomba's or some of them (don't know if there are different models or not)actually could be course programmed, or is it much simpler than that?

jdiego2009
jdiego2009

With that microphone separation it is quite easy to compute phase-shift between sound signals (with typical wavelengths from 10 to 50 cm) and then obtain the direction of the sound source.

Shadetree Engineer
Shadetree Engineer

I understand this is just an opening call for the rest of us to start hacking our Kinects. My questions still stand, as I'm very curious about 3-D imaging technologies. The amount of spatial data Microsoft has gained from only a handful of sensors, in real-time, is really impressive.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

If you play your cards right and eat all your Brussels up, SWMBO just might buy you one for Chrim Chrim! (Ye olde bugger who gets to see Santa before I do!)

seanferd
seanferd

that maybe it was a Rasta thing.

seanferd
seanferd

Maybe that is just for modding an Xbox itself (in the U.S., mind you). Edit: I thought you were referring to the Kinect, not the Roomba. Fail, fail, fail. Sorry.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

She doesn't hate me quite that much yet. ;) I'm not into Video Games after all when you can do the real thing why bother with the toys? OK other than several months of playing Free Space as Therapy for a broken wrist I've never played any Video Games and I'm not overly interested. Maybe if is someone playing something I may look on but I really prefer to get some sleep. After all I have enough work going to keep [b]SWMBO[/b] in the lifestyle she has become accustomed to. :D Just to keep me busy [b]SWMBO[/b] has arranged to get the Merc back early December, I was up there last week looking at it and besides all of the bare metal [i]small rust holes[/i] and unfinished new sills I have my work cut out for me. I'm not really sure where I'm going to put it or how I'm going to finish it but after almost 5 years I do tend to agree with her that it's been toooooo long. Looks as if she's lining up lots of work for me that I don't want to know about though. Col