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Appeared on: Wednesday, December 29, 2010
USC Scientists Play World of Warcraft Using a Hacked Microsoft Kinect System

Researchers at USC. have hacked a Microsoft Kinect camera and gotten it to control thepopular computer game, World of Warcraft.

The software they used is called Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit or FAAST, a middleware to facilitate integration of full-body control with games and VR applications using OpenNI-compliant depth sensors, currently the PrimeSensor and the Microsoft Kinect. The software is downloadable for free online.

FAAST is a software that uses the OpenNI framework (www.openni.org). Built by USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, FAAST allows users to play computer games with a Kinect motion-sensor camera by translating body movements into the inputs that would otherwise be triggered a keyboard and mouse, or a gaming controller with joysticks and buttons.

A video on YouTube from the researchers shows off FAAST controlling World of Warcraft computer game in which players control a customized character in a land of witches and knights and gnomes.

FAAST is free to use and distribute for research and noncommercial purposes. The preliminary version of FAAST is currently available for Windows only, but Evan A. Suma, Belinda Lange, Skip Rizzo, David Krum, and Mark Bolas, the developers of FAAST, are currently preparing to release code as an open-source project. Additionally, the team plans to develop a Linux port in the near future.



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