One Step Forward, Three Steps Back – Kinect & Processing


I’ve given in.

After far, far, far too many hours hoping to find some life in the Processing community surrounding the Kinect V2, I’ve come to conclude that the only worthwhile move for the sake of compatibility is to change my hardware, not my software.

For the projects I have in mind, libraries such as SimpleOpenNI and programs such as DepthKit perfectly fit the bill. The issue, however, is that the brilliant Kinect V2 I purchased in April 2015 is just not supported. I’d like to write “not supported yet,” but after reading about so many false starts in the community way back in 2014, I just don’t see myself being able to take advantage of the Processing + Kinect platform with the newest Kinect.

So, I bit the bullet and bought a used Kinect V1 on ebay. Fortunately, unlike the latest Kinect, the investment is not too high. A mere $40 will get you the Kinect V1, USB/AC Adapter, and shipping. An important note, there are actually TWO Kinect models under the V1 umbrella: model 1414 and model 1473.

The 1414 is the original Kinect model and is the mostly widely supported and used version of the Kinect V1 for digital media projects. The 1473 is an updated revision of the hardware and internal software of the V1 Kinect – it alters the way in which the chain of components is interpreted and thus requires a rewrite of much of the original/popular libraries available.

UC Davis has a great writeup on the differences between the two Kinect models in relation to their ability to be utilized for projects here: UC Davis – Kinect Hacking

While I am excited to be able to plug into the world of Kinect hacking now that I will have the most supported version, I am disappointed that I have to take three steps back and work in a legacy format just to accomplish what I would like to do (without spending months writing my own libraries).

Of course, the other sad part is that I now am behind a full week as I await delivery of the device in over a week. Between now and then (September 28th, hopefully), I will continue my research of Processing + Kinect and develop further practice projects that work well with the Kinect V2.

Always hate when I feel behind the ball but there is no way I could have predicted so little life in the Processing community when it comes to the Kinect V2. With any luck, we’ll see a revamped initiative in the coming months. For now, it seems that other artists – myself officially included – are dealing with the limitations and developing for the legacy Kinect V1.

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