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Kinect hacked after MIT alumni offer prize money

Two thousand dollars awarded as successful crackers provide video evidence

Microsoft's Kinect has been hacked within a few days of its commercial release, after a company headed up by two MIT graduates offered $2000 prize money to anyone able to prove their success.

Adafruit Industries, which is chaired by Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone, put up the money because its directors believe that the technology used in Kinect is too useful to not be adapted to further uses. Microsoft is understandably keen to prevent that from happening.

"Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products. With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering," Microsoft told CNET in a statement.

"Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant."

The prize money, which was doubled last week after Microsoft issued its statement, was awarded after the hackers provided a video which seems to prove that they have bypassed security measures and gained control of the unit's motors. Although the hack has yet to be officially confirmed, Adafruit representatives were satisfied.

"It's amazing hardware that shouldn't just be locked up for Xbox 360," said Phillip Torrone in an email to CNET. "Its 'radar camera' being able to get video and distance as a sensor input from commodity hardware is huge."

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Dan Pearson