Frequently Asked Questions: simpleKinect

Q: What operating systems have you tested simpleKinect on?

A: I have currently tested simpleKinect on Macintosh, including (MacBook Pro: Mac OSX 10.6.8 and iMac 10.8.3). simpleKinect was bundled as a Macintosh app using Processing’s application export.
IMPORTANT! If you are running 10.8.*, and if you install the Kinect drivers (specifically, OpenNI, SensorKinect and PrimeSense) the easy way (@see below) you will notice a serious lag time opening the application. (upwards to 90-120 seconds). This is not the app, and has to do with Processing’s simple-openni library (older version v.0.27). You will need to install the drivers the official way here. I have tested the most basic examples using the simple-openni library on 10.8.3 on two machines, one with basic drivers installed and one with the more comprehensive drivers installed.  I have tested on Mac 10.9.x, but with simple-openni updates (v1.96) and Processing updates (v2.x), I’ve had to revert to running simpleKinect straight from Processing. This OSX 10.9.x version is up on github.

Q: I’ve downloaded simpleKinect, but my Mac is telling me the software is damaged. Why can’t I open?

A: This message is the result of the new Gate Keeper functionality in Mac OS X. simpleKinect has not gone through the process of signing yet, and is apparently somehow marked as damaged.

If you feel comfortable with it, you can disable Gate Keeper by setting “Allow applications downloaded from:” to “Anywhere”, as described here:

Q: simple-openni is now on version 1.96, not 0.27!

A: You can always run simpleKinect direct from Processing if you’d like. I created a version for simple-openni 1.96, but with Processing updates to 2.x, I was unable to bundle everything in a nice app.  The simpleKinect Processing sketch is available on github.

Q: Any known issues with simple-openni version 1.96?

A: I’m glad you asked. simple-openni v1.96 bundles the Kinect drivers into .dylib files, which saves time installing, but on certain machines, may require a reinstall of these drivers. I have not been able to lock down a solid reason why one machine will work with old drivers, but on other machines, new drivers fix issues. While I am unable to locate the exact link I used, I found a similar explanation. See comments #10, #26, #33: ( I went back and date checked my libraries with simple-opennis and found that I had only altered two drivers. The libusb and libfreenect drivers that came with simple-openni were updated before the Kinect started working for me using this library. Of course, without a solid explanation, I am not completely confident these are the two .dylib files that will require updates on your machine.

Q: I’m a PC user. C’mon!

A: I built simpleKinect using Processing, and I exported the app for PC. I have had several users ask and since the app worked for them, you may download that version here ( If you run into trouble, please understand, I do not have any way to test/troubleshoot PC specific issues.

Q: I’m using 10.9 and installed Processing and libraries. I get an error, “The function controller(String) does not exist.”?

A: This is related to an update to the ControlP5 Processing library. I’m working on it, but in the mean time, you’ll need to use the older ControlP5 library (version 2.0.4). If you’re ok with installing this earlier version, all the library’s earlier releases are here:

Q: Processing 3.0 or 2.2.1?

A: I and two others found some Java bugs related to how Processing 3.0 handles the various libraries. For now, the stable version is to run SimpleKinect with Processing 2.2.1.

Q: Kinect hardware version 1414 or 1473?

A: I finally got my hands on a 1473 model. The 1414 model opens without issue. The 1473 model, however, generates the error “send_cmd: Data buffer is 322 bytes long, but got 334 bytes.”  This was tested with SimpleKinect on two machines (one running OSX 10.9.5 and one running OSX 10.10.5). The issue appears to be a driver problem related to the hardware versions, but more testing is required.

Q: I’ve downloaded simpleKinect. Now what?

A: Great! As you’re awesome and have the read the instructions, you will have downloaded and installed the Kinect drivers. (For those running 10.8, here’s a great walkthrough). As an aside, simple-openni for Processing has an update (Aug 30, 2013), and the update no longer requires driver installation. That’s awesome, but I have not updated simpleKinect with this new version of simple-openni. Yet.
If you installed the drivers already, even better. Plug in the Kinect and open up simpleKinect.

Q: The screen looks jittery on load. What gives?

A: simpleKinect was built with Processing, and on 10.6.8 operating systems (and earlier) takes approximately 20-30 second to load. The screen may look odd as the version of Java grabs randomized parts of your screen when initializing.
NOTE! If you are running 10.8.x, and if you install the Kinect drivers the easy way, you will notice a serious lag time opening the application. (upwards to 90-120 seconds). This is not the app, and has to do with Processing’s simple-openni library. You will need to install the drivers the official way. (For those running 10.8, here’s a great walkthrough)


Q: How do I set simpleKinect up to work with Kyma?

A: After you have successfully opened simpleKinect and can see your tracking skeleton in the software, connecting to Kyma is a three step process.

1. Make sure that you have an Ethernet cable connected between your computer and your Paca(rana).

2. Copy Kyma’s IP address.

In Kyma, go to DSP > Status. At the bottom of this window, choose Configure > OSC. An IP address box will appear.

Copy Kyma’s IP address inside the OSC IP field inside simpleKinect.

3. Use !osc_ hot fields inside Kyma to access the Kinect data.
In order to access any OSC message inside Kyma (for us, Kinect tracking data), you need to utilize Kyma’s OSC message formatting. For example, if you want to access the x value of the left hand, the default OSC message is /leftHand/x. Inside Kyma, this url translates to !osc_leftHand_x. Rule of thumb: translate forward slashes to underscores (/ become _) and prepend !osc_.


Q: How do I set simpleKinect up to work with Max/MSP?

A: After you have successfully opened simpleKinect and can see your tracking skeleton in the software, connecting to Max is a two step process.

1. Create a “updreceive” object. Default port is 8000, but you may set this within simpleKinect to a different port.

2. Create a “print” object and attach the output of the “updreceive” to the inlet of “print”.

* With simpleKinect open and a user in front of the camera, you will begin to see messages appear in the Max window.

Return to the Kinect page.

Shout! if you have questions. jpbellona [ ] yahoo [ ] com