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Ubuntu + OpenKinect + Mouse Control

Mouse control with OpenKinect on Ubuntu Linux

Here is a quick tutorial to get use your hand as a mouse in a Minority Report-esque interface using the Kinect and Ubuntu.  Credit to Ooblik (Tim Flaman) for the awesome project. Before you begin, ensure that you have installed the OpenKinect drivers and they are functioning correctly.

Quickstart

sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev freeglut3-dev libX11-dev libxtst-dev libxmu-dev cmake git

git clone https://github.com/Ooblik/Kinect-Mouse.git

cd Kinect-Mouse

mkdir build

cd build

cmake ..

make

sudo ./kmouse

Steps explained:

Install a few dependencies for the Kinect mouse:

sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev freeglut3-dev libX11-dev libxtst-dev libxmu-dev cmake git

Use git to clone the source from Ooblik’s repo on Github:

git clone https://github.com/Ooblik/Kinect-Mouse.git

Then make yourself a build directory within the repo, use cmake to configure, and make to build.

cd Kinect-Mouse

mkdir build

cd build

cmake ..

make

Ensure that your Kinect is plugged in (USB and power), and run kmouse. It needs to be run as root unless you have followed the steps here to add your user to the ‘video’ group.

sudo ./kmouse

You will likely need to reposition the Kinect (or yourself) to get it working accurately… The mouse only works at a very specific distance from the Kinect.  This is the red area in the video viewer. To click the mouse, remain still over the target and the mouse will left click. Interaction is little more than a proof of concept at present… but it works!

 

Ubuntu + OpenKinect

Getting started with OpenKinect on Ubuntu Linux

There are two ways you can get OpenKinect (freenect) working on Ubuntu: either by installing the prebuilt PPA package, or compiling from source.  I’ve confirmed at both of these methods are functional, the package based method is slightly more straightforward, and allows updates from the apt package manager. This article will demonstrate installation via this method, for details on the manual compilation method, check out the official OpenKinect Getting Started Guide

Quickstart

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:floe/libtisch

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install libfreenect libfreenect-dev libfreenect-demos

sudo freenect-glview

Steps Explained

For those unfamiliar, Ubuntu allows developers to create and distribute their own software packages, called Launchpad Personal Package Archives (PPA). To use one, the package needs to be added to the apt repository list, in this case:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:floe/libtisch

This adds the repo, but doesn’t update the apt package list. Thus, we must resynch it:

sudo apt-get update

Then, install libfreenect, the development headers, and the demo apps:

sudo apt-get install libfreenect libfreenect-dev libfreenect-demos

You can run it as root:

sudo freenect-glview

To run in user mode, you need to add yourself to the UNIX ‘video’ group and log back in (The package includes udev daemon rules allowing access to the group video).

sudo adduser $USER video

Then log out and back in. Reboot is not necessary, just plug cycle the Kinect (if already connected, unplug and plug back in). Then run the demo app:

freenect-glview

How the Kinect is actually working
Here’s another video, this one taken under infrared of my IP camera. It demonstrates how the infrared projector of the Kinect works.