On Create Digital Music, amidst lots of hacks for listening and creation at the Music Hack Day here in New York, two teams focused on Kinect. Those creative instruments easily stole the show from more conventional social music tools. At top, Stringer, a simulated instrument that uses Kinect for input; at bottom, Bionic DJ, a DJ hack.

At Music Hack Day, Amidst Listening Interfaces, Novel Performance Control a Winner

Interested in trying Kinect yourself? In comments on that story, we get a tip from Tohm Judson.

FYI… for the beginning Kinect hackers and non programmers like me out there, I have put together a tutorial/walkthrough to get the OpenNi packages working on mac.
At the end you should be able to send OSC data wherever you like via OSCeleton.
Max Discussion here:

Hmmmm… sounds like we need a general getting started guide for Mac, Windows, and Linux, OpenFrameworks and Processing and Cinder, covering just the basics. (“Hello, World Kinect”?) Got some tips? Let us know.

In the meantime, Tohm’s starter guide is a great place to start, and there’s some useful commentary below. (Linux users I think will actually have an easier time as they’re familiar with some of this stuff – got to master those open source tools, Mac users, and harness the UNIX within!)

  • Joe Catts

    You know that the AMIGA was doing this in 1985.  (2D not 3D)
    You could  play different instruments like a drums and air guitar and even some special games by standing in front of a camera. like in this video you also saw an outline of yourself. It tracked in real time and did some awesome for 1985.  

  • Peter Kirn

    Yeah, actually, I neglected to say what I'd planned to say in the quick story above:

    1. These things were done *extremely* quickly. Alex, one of the Stringer makers, actually had literally just purchase his Kinect. 😉

    2. A lot of the current libraries are using the depth sensing on the camera just to do smarter background reduction. Ironically, I think that's true of most of the *games* right now, too. Now, that's still a good thing – the z info will let you do more accurate background reduction under a wide variety of circumstances – but you're correct, this is not news.

    Are you sure the Amiga was doing this in 1985? There was an Amiga model in 1985, but I think this software was later. Anyway, no matter – this goes back to research work dating to the late 70s. 🙂

  • Joe Catts

    I got my first Amiga in 87 and that program (name i don't know) was out before then. One reason I thought the Amiga was a good choice was because it was doing things no one was even thinking about then on PC's or Apple. But it was just a simple 2D tracking movement on the camera, a mer gimmick compared to the Kinect stuff. This Video reminded me of what i saw then and took me back. 🙂  

  • indeed all good fun, especially after the nightmare we had with setting up all the Open Ni frameworks. I had a little play with Just Add Music + the Kinect last week. Incredible fun!


  • We have just released the first version of a set of Quartz Composer macro patches and samples to use with OSCeleton on OSX.

    More info at:

  • I've been working with OSCeleton in max for a couple weeks, it's great! Tom's guide was crucial for me getting started.


    Going to perform a more advanced version of this week at Tate Liverpool for a Nam June Paik show streamed over the Internet.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Joe: Got it! Yeah, guess maybe the Amiga *was* there in '85 / '86. I mean, the thing is, this stuff with Kinect actually *isn't* all that different – though it should be more different as hackers and game devs alike use a broader portion of its capabilities.

    @Jeremy: Do send us info for the streaming show, and take some photos/videos if you can! Sounds amazing!

  • Steve Elbows

    Thanks for the Quartz Composer stuff. However OSCeleton has had a QC-compatible OSC message mode for some time now, so your methods for converting the OSC to a QC-suitable format are not really needed anymore. Also I got some errors when decompressing the zip file.

    There is a pesky issue on the mac at the moment where OSCeleton sometimes crashes. This rather spoils the fun and makes this stuff perilous to use in live performance scenarios. It looks like the issue is to do with OpenNI/NITE rather than OSCeleton itself, and perhaps affects linux as well as mac, does not seem to happen on windows. Assuming it is a OpenNI/NITe issue, need PrimeSense to fix it, and I havent seen them acknowledge the problem yet.

  • @steve
    Right now I'm still using the first release of OSCeleton because for me it's the most stable yet. It actually runs for days without crashing.

    With the latest OSCeleton in QC mode the left leg data isn't send correctly, and it still segfaults. Once it's more stable I'll definitely update the files.

    The zip error is strange, could you mail me what's going wrong?

  • Steve Elbows

    I'll try downloading the zip again tonight and will let you know if there is still a problem.

    Thanks for the info on OSCeleton version. Its all a bit strange really, as some people had started to reach the conclusion that the crashing issue was with OpenNI/NITE rather than OSCeleton itself, but if the old version is more stable than something else is going on.

    Can you expand on what the problem is with left leg data?


  • @steve

    I've described my problems with the latest OSCeleton here:
    In QC mode the left leg data get's updated less frequent. In normal mode it seems to be fine.

  • Anybody remembers Wii?

  • Steve Elbows

    Thanks for the info. The zip file was fine for me when I downloaded it again tonight, so not sure what went wrong earlier. 

  • looking forward to getting OSCeleton installed

    the amiga program was Mandala by Vivid software from canada

    myron is an important part of the history too