Ex-Microsoft Employee Johnny Lee Funded Kinect Hack!

Johnny Lee, famous for creating the Wii Head Tracking hack 3 years ago and who was subsequently hired by Microsoft to work on the Kinect project, has admitted to secretly funding the contest to get Kinect running on PC's. Citing initial frustration with Microsoft's unwillingness to allow even basic PC support, Lee contacted AdaFruit who set up the content.

"Back in the late Summer of 2010, trying to argue for the most basic level of PC support for Kinect from within Microsoft, to my immense disappointment, turned out to be really grinding against the corporate grain at the time" says Lee on his blog, Procrastineering.

"When my frustration peaked, I decided to approach AdaFruit to put on the Open Kinect contest.  For obvious reasons, I couldn't run the contest myself. Besides, Phil and Limor did a phenomenal job, much better than I could have done. Without a doubt, the contest had a significant impact in raising awareness about the potential for the Kinect outside of Xbox gaming both inside and outside the company. Best $3000 I ever spent."

Lee created the blog entry to share the secret and his happiness at the recent news that Microsoft are finally releasing an SDK for Kinect. He enthusiastically wants Microsoft to promote creations from smaller developers rather than let Kinect's potential slip through their fingers due to a lack of internal developers able to fully explore all ideas.

"To take this even further, it would be awesome if Microsoft went so far as to hold a small conference to actually showcase people doing interesting projects with the Kinect.

"It is a really great device, and such an outreach program would give Microsoft an opportunity to engage with very enthusiastic partners to potentially build new applications around it both inside and outside of gaming.

"We have just seen the beginning of what can be done with low-cost depth cameras."

After 2 and a half years working on Kinect, Lee recently left Microsoft to work as a Rapid Evaluator at Google. You can read his full blog entry on the Kinect SDK here.

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