Filed under: Kinect
(Check out the rest of the Kinect section for more tutorials.)
The Kinect has two basic tricks–first, it grabs a depth map, and second, it figures out the joint coordinates of your skeleton from the depth map. There are lots of easy-to-use options for the first trick, but not so many for the second. Still, even using the depth maps alone, you can track motion more effectively than with most RGB methods.
0. Easiest Installer Options (current—start here!)
There are now some easier installer options for OpenNI/NITE—I recommend starting with these! Here are:
1. Depth Maps (outdated)
On a Mac, you can get started quickly—for an initial test, you can run CocoaKinect, a small app that just displays the depth map. Then there’s a Processing library and a Max/MSP/Jitter external that work out of the box. You can also get a Quartz Composer plugin that also runs on the latest version of Isadora, but its installation is slightly more complicated. Which brings me to:
2. My Bundles (outdated)
With few exceptions, installing software for the Kinect requires getting a program from site A, a couple of drivers from sites B and C, and an installation tutorial from site D. To get you started quickly, I’ve collected all the bits you need to install:
- Quartz Composer/Isadora bundle for OS X.
- BrekelKinect/OSCeleton bundle for Windows.
- OSCeleton bundle for OS X (Snow Leopard only).
I made these bundles for my own convenience, and they’re all almost certainly out of date as you read this, so once you have them up and running you should get updated versions of the programs and drivers from the original sources listed here.
3. Skeleton Tracking (outdated)
On Windows, there’s BrekelKinect, a slick-looking all-in-one utility that can capture depth maps and do skeleton tracking, recording joint coordinates to BVH files (usable with Maya or other 3D programs). (It might be able to communicate live with other programs, but I haven’t tested that.)
On Mac, Windows, and Linux, there’s OSCeleton, which sends joint coordinates out as OSC data. It’s quite a bit harder to set up than BrekelKinect, but it has the ability to do live skeleton tracking and pass the information on to other programs. Here’s an example receiver patch for Isadora. (A warning, you’ll need to use Terminal commands to install OSCeleton. If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d start with one of the ready-to-use alternatives and dive into OSCeleton when you have a full day to spend poking at it until it works. Here’s a Mac setup tutorial.)
Synapse (Mac/Win) is another powerful skeleton-tracking OSC app to experiment with, although it works somewhat differently than OSCeleton. It’s an all-in-one download that’s very easy to set up.
4. To talk to Flash, you can use another app to get the Kinect data, analyze it, and send OSC using Flosc (Mac/Win/Linux) or Oscar (Mac). Other Flash options are AS3Kinect (Mac/Win/Linux) and Beckon (Win).