In early November Microsoft unveiled the Kinect, a controller-free gaming add-on to the Xbox 360. The Kinect is similar to the Nintendo Wii in that it relies on the players movement to engage with the game. Unlike the Wii, the Kinect does not require the player to use a handheld device, instead relying on a natural user interface using gesture and spoken commands.
The Kinect works by emitting beams of infrared light and measuring the time it takes for the light to reflect off of objects in the scene and return to the infrared camera. It encodes information in the infrared light and as some of that information is returned, and altered, it allows the Kinect to create a more accurate image of the 3D-objects' texture.
The technology was intriguing enough that many hackers and DIY enthusiasts began to hack the Kinect and see how they could modify its sensors and output.