Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Connect Microsoft Kinect to Ubuntu (Mouse Control)

Just purchased a used Microsoft Kinect on Ebay for $75 in hopes of integrating this as a robotic vision device. In the mean time, I got it hooked up to Ubuntu for a sort of "Minority Report" Mouse Control.

Here is what I did to get it installed with Ubuntu Meerkat 10.10:
1.  Add the PPA for Freenect from
2. Install the following:
$ sudo apt-get install freenect libncurses5-dev libglut3-dev libX11-dev libxtst-dev libxmu-dev cmake git
3. Plug in Kinect to usb port on machine (unplug/replug if it already was)
4. Test the installation
$ freenect-glview
5. Should see a depth / video feed appear on the screen confirming the usb driver works

6. To get mouse cursor working (from
$ mkdir ~/kinect
$ cd ~/kinect
$ git clone
$ cd ~/kinect/Kinect-Mouse
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake ..
$ make
7. Run mouse client
$ ./kmouse
8. Enjoy mouse cursor control.

*Notes: The mouse control only works at a certain depth range. The video window will show whatever is "in-range" by highlighting it in red. To "click" you need to stop moving briefly and it will auto left-click.

As much as you would like to wave your open hands in the air to recreate Tom Cruise in the movie, I find that just using a single finger tip in range is usually the best method of control. :)


  1. Hi,
    Thanks for making this tutorial.

    However, I realized that the API has changed [as of Dec 1, 2011], and had to edit some files to make the mouse pointer thing work. If you want, I'd be happy to post the diffs.


  2. Hi,

    Me again. The developer added me to the Kinect-mouse project, and the change has been pushed now. It should work now.


  3. Great tutorial, thanks a bunch! It worked like a charm. I created a mod to allow me to "click" when I close my hand but still giving some false clicks, when i got it nailed i'll also be glad to post it here.

    Thanks u all.

  4. Hi Ramirez, could you publish it here ? it would be interesting to see that