The Kinect is inspiring a lot of hacking — getting it to work with a PS3, for example — but some folks are seeing it as something that can enable more noble inventions. The people at NAVI — Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired — hacked a Kinect, mounted it on a helmet, hooked it to a vibrating belt, and turned it into a device to help guide the blind:
The video explains how the thing works through measuring the room and using vibrations and audio cues to tell the wearer where to go. It’s not anything you’ll see being used in real-world situations anytime in the immediate future — besides the obvious bulk involved, the experiment involved placing code markers in strategic places to send those cues to the wearer, and that would be close to impossible to do everywhere, at least anytime soon — but if someone can rig up something like this with a game controller and some ingenuity, you have to think that we’re closer than ever to some amazing things.
Oh, okay, you can hack the thing to control Battlebots, too:
It’s not ALL life-changing.