Kinect for Xbox 360 is an amazing little device stuffed with magical sensors. Its revolutionary power and affordability ($150 without the Xbox console) has sparked a wave of innovation in human-computer interfaces that engage the whole body. Now all kinds of games and gadgets can recognize your movements and gestures as commands to do all kinds of things, without you having to wear anything.

This article will explain what Kinect is, how it works, and how you can develop your own Kinect hacks. As a starter application, I’ll explain the Kinect Weather Map, a live video application that changes your background to a different animated weather map whenever you walk across the frame and turn — just like a TV meteorologist, but without a green screen.