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Last Updated 2024-01-06
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libfreenect is a userspace driver for the Microsoft Kinect. It runs on Linux, OSX, and Windows and supports

  • RGB and Depth Images
  • Motors
  • Accelerometer
  • LED
  • Audio

Notice: If you have the newer Kinect v2 (XBox One), use OpenKinect/libfreenect2 instead.

Build Instructions

To build libfreenect, you'll need

  • libusb >= 1.0.18 (Windows needs >= 1.0.22)
  • CMake >= 3.12.4
  • python >= 2.7 or >= 3.3 (only if BUILD_PYTHON=ON or BUILD_PYTHON2=ON or BUILD_PYTHON3=ON or BUILD_REDIST_PACKAGE=OFF)

For the examples, you'll need

  • OpenGL (included with OSX)
  • glut (included with OSX)
  • pthreads-win32 (Windows)

Fetch & Build

git clone
cd libfreenect
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -L .. # -L lists all the project options

# if you don't have `make` or don't want color output
# cmake --build .

Use CMake options to control what gets built. For example, to build the Python wrapper (defaults to system Python):


Or the Python 3 wrapper:


You can specify a build with debug symbols:

cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=debug
# or with optimizations
# cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo

You can build .deb, .rpm, and/or .tgz packages with cpack:


For audio support, you must upload firmware to the device. Newer Kinect models may require audio firmware for motor and LED support. The best method is to insert firmware at runtime just after calling freenect_init().

Alternately, firmware for Kinect model 1414 can be downloaded automatically by specifying:


Note that firmware may not be legal to redistribute in your jurisdiction!


If you don't have a package manager, install Homebrew. For a manual build, see the wiki.


brew install libfreenect
# or get the very latest:
# brew install --HEAD libfreenect


sudo port install git-core cmake libusb libtool

Continue with Fetch & Build.


Remember to install the udev rules. For a manual build, see the wiki.


The version packaged in Ubuntu may be very old. To install newer packaged builds, see the wiki. Continue with this section for a manual build.

sudo apt-get install git cmake build-essential libusb-1.0-0-dev

# only if you are building the examples:
sudo apt-get install freeglut3-dev libxmu-dev libxi-dev

Continue with Fetch & Build.

There is also a debian branch for packaging purposes.

Gentoo Linux

There are dev-libs/libfreenect ebuilds in the overboard repo.

Arch Linux

There is a libfreenect PKGBUILD in the AUR. Alternately, the libfreenect-git PKGBUILD builds the very latest.


As of libusb 1.0.22, libusbK isochronous transfers are now supported natively. There is no longer a need to compile a custom version of libusb.

Use Zadig to install the libusbK driver for each device you wish to use. Follow Fetch & Build or use Github and CMake GUI tools. Remember to supply paths to CMake so it can find dependencies. For example:

cmake .. -DLIBUSB_1_INCLUDE_DIR="C:\path\to\libusb\include" -DLIBUSB_1_LIBRARY="C:\path\to\libusb\libusb.lib"


Interfaces to various languages are provided in wrappers/. Wrappers are not guaranteed to be API stable or up to date.

  • C (using a synchronous API)
  • C++
  • C#
  • python
  • ruby
  • actionscript
  • Java (JNA)


Using fakenect, you can record a session to a directory and play it back later.

mkdir session
fakenect-record ./session

To use a fakenect recorded stream, just provide the fakenect lib as a pre loaded library with LD_PRELOAD and indicates the recorded files directory with FAKENECT_PATH.

  • Sample with python wrappers :
    LD_PRELOAD="/usr/local/lib/fakenect/" FAKENECT_PATH="./session" python ./wrappers/python/

  • Sample with C bin :
    LD_PRELOAD="/usr/local/lib/fakenect/" FAKENECT_PATH="./session" freenect-glview

Code Contributions

In order of importance:

  • Make sure to sign commits: git commit -s
  • Use a feature branch in your own fork and target master with pull requests
  • Tab indentation, no trailing whitespace


Ongoing Development and Maintenance by the OpenKinect Community

  • Original Code and Engineering: Hector Martin (marcan)
  • Community Lead: Josh Blake (JoshB)
  • Integration: Kyle Machulis (qDot)


The libfreenect project is covered under a dual Apache v2/GPL v2 license. The licensing criteria are listed below, as well as at the top of each source file in the repo.

This file is part of the OpenKinect Project.

Copyright (c) 2010 individual OpenKinect contributors. See the CONTRIB
file for details.

This code is licensed to you under the terms of the Apache License,
version 2.0, or, at your option, the terms of the GNU General Public
License, version 2.0. See the APACHE20 and GPL2 files for the text of
the licenses, or the following URLs:

If you redistribute this file in source form, modified or unmodified,
you may:

- Leave this header intact and distribute it under the same terms,
  accompanying it with the APACHE20 and GPL2 files, or
- Delete the Apache 2.0 clause and accompany it with the GPL2 file, or
- Delete the GPL v2 clause and accompany it with the APACHE20 file

In all cases you must keep the copyright notice intact and include a
copy of the CONTRIB file.

Binary distributions must follow the binary distribution requirements
of either License.

More Information

Information about the OpenKinect project can be found at

For questions, support, and discussion, check out the google groups mailing list at

Or the IRC channel at #openkinect on Freenode

We are also on twitter at


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