This is part one of a series documenting my experiments with Kinect for Windows SDK. After the first two or three articles, this series should make quite a good walkthrough
for beginners and a nice reference for more advanced developers.
Series table of contents:
- Coming soon...
Kinect is a sensor originally developed for Microsoft's XBOX 360 console. It has a regular video camera, IR camera for depth detection, and an array of microphones.
Here you can find all the information about Kinect and its SDK for Windows.
To use the SDK in your application, you need to reference the
Microsoft.Research.Kinect assembly. It contains two namespaces:
Microsoft.Research.Kinect.Nui - Used for visual features
Microsoft.Research.Kinect.Audio - Used for audio features
At this point, I will focus on the NUI part of the SDK and its features:
DepthStream - Interface to depth sensor
VideoStream - Interface to video camera
SkeletonEngine - Engine for tracing up to two human bodies
NuiCamera - Device info and control (mainly for getting/setting elevation angle)
To start coding, you need to use the
Runtime class from the SDK. This class provides an entry point for device enumeration and initialization.
In most cases, all you need is to get an instance of the
Runtime rt = Runtime.Kinects;
This will give you control over the first Kinect found in the system. If you have more Kinects connected, you will want to enumerate
the devices using the
foreach (Runtime CurrentRuntime in Runtime.Kinects)
No matter which way you get reference to the
Runtime, you must
Initialize() it. Failing to remember to do this will cause exceptions while
Initialize(), you should check the status of the runtime and device by examining the
The documentation describes statuses as:
Connected - The sensor is fully connected and ready.
Error - An error has occurred.
Disconnected - The sensor is not connected to the USB connector.
NotPowered - The sensor is not powered up.
NotReady - Some part of the sensor is not yet ready.
You should only proceed if
KinectStatus.Connected. The status can be monitored by attaching to the
Upon initialization, several options are passed to
Runtime. According to the documentation, their meaning is quite straightforward:
UseColor - Process color information.
UseDepth - Process depth information.
UseDepthAndPlayerIndex - Process the player index.
UseSkeletalTracking - Process skeletal tracking data.
Not enabling some of the features probably will result in performance changes. I will try to verify it later.
The next thing you should do is to
ImageStreams. Again, failing to remember about this will result in exceptions when accessing frames.
Providing wrong parameters will result in an
Pieces of code shown above are taken from my first working application - InfoTool. At the moment, all this tool does is:
- Enumerates through devices
- Initializes all devices
- Displays all information collected during steps above
Here is a sample output:
This sample output shows that there is one Kinect available for usage and all initializations were executed successfully.
As you can see,
DepthStream have some improper parameters at startup and are changed to the proper ones by calling
Points of interest
My next experiments will include:
- Determining the best way of working with
- Skeletal tracking
- Benchmarking / Performance tuning
- 2011-11-20: Initial submission.
- 2012-01-06: Added series TOC and updated source code (common for whole series).
Programming since 10 years old with first commercial app sold in age of 16.
In past got Bachelor's degree in Computer Sciences and worked as Linux administrator and software developer.
Currently slightly over 30 and working as IT Project Manager for Flextronics.
Still coding for fun and/or money.