We’ve reported before on how the Xbox Kinect was used in the health care industry and now it looks like thanks to a hacked Kinect, it has managed to find its way to an archaeological survey in Jordan which will be conducted by students from the University of California, San Diego.

The Kinect will be used in place of the more expensive LIDAR imaging system which is typically used in such studies. Instead, it seems that the hacked Kinect will be able to perform high-quality 3D scanning which will help to record accurate positional details.

Originally developed by the California Institute for Telecommunications and IT (Calit2), the system taps directly into Kinect’s streaming data feed that’s a blend of 3-D positional data, which is achieved by projecting bright and invisible spots of infrared light onto objects, and color video images. The resulting 3D scans can then be inserted into a virtual world like Second Life.

The upside of using the Kinect versus installing the LIDAR system is that thanks to it portability, it will not disturb the dig site and will be easier to carry over rocks. Considering it’s probably a whole lot cheaper too, dropping one will not hurt the wallet as badly either. Not to mention at the end of the day the Kinect can be hooked up to the Xbox and the researchers will be able to enjoy a few Xbox games to unwind.

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