InstallKinect - Kinect driver installation instructions.


Psychtoolbox on Windows currently only supports the original XBOX-360 Kinect,
not the more recent versions of “Kinect for Windows”. Use GNU/Linux if you want
to use those.

  1. Unzip the file Psychtoolbox/PsychContributed/
    into a temporary folder, e.g., C:\tmp[KinectDrivers](KinectDrivers).

  2. Plug in your Kinect box into a USB port via the interface cable.

  3. The Windows hardware setup assistant will start, tell you about new
    detected hardware and ask you for drivers. Say “No” to the
    “automatically search for drivers” option, but select to “provide your
    own drivers”. In the next tab, select “browse for drivers”, and then
    select the temporary folder with the unzipped file (from step 1) as
    driver folder. Press ok.

  4. The driver will be installed from the zip file, the device manager
    will notify you of the new device, then prompt you for installation
    of another device. Repeat the same procedure from step 3 until no more
    devices need to be installed. This procedure will repeat three to four
    times until all drivers are installed, as the Kinect shows up as
    multiple separate devices (Video camera, Audio soundcard and
    Kinect motor).

  5. The setup assistant will tell you that your new device is fully
    operational. Quit the assistant.

  6. Unplug the Kinect, wait a few seconds, plug it in again, just to be
    sure it is correctly detected.

  7. Now you can start Matlab or Octave and use the Kinect! Try KinectDemo
    and Kinect3DDemo for a start, then delve into your own Kinect adventures.

The current Kinect low level drivers are still early prototypes, so
expect occasional bugs or weird behaviour.


If you use the Psychtoolbox distribution provided by the NeuroDebian
project ( there’s nothing to do. It should “just
work(tm)”, well almost: Skip to step 2. Otherwise the following step 1
is required:

  1. If you have Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS or later installed, open a terminal
    window and type this sequence of commands, providing your administrator
    password as requested. (Same procedure for Debian 4.0 or later)

    a) Add the NeuroDebian repository to your software sources, as described
    b) sudo apt-get update
    c) sudo apt-get install freenect
    d) sudo adduser YOURNAME video
    –> (YOURNAME) is your user login name!
    e) Log out and Log in again.

For non-Debian or non-Ubuntu Linux distributions, you’ll need to install
a version of libfreenect that is compatible to version 0.1.2 via whatever
means your system provides to do this. If you want to also use the Kinect for
Windows, instead of only the “original” XBOX-360 kinect, then you will need
libfreenect version 0.2 or later. Using version 0.2 or later of libfreenect
will also allow you to skip the following setup step 2:

  1. Kinect is now usable from within Matlab or Octave. Well almost.
    Systems with Linux kernel version 3.0 or later can use the video camera
    and microphones of the Kinect as regular sound and video devices, e.g.,
    for use by the Psychtoolbox videocapture and recording functions or other
    video apps (Skype, etc.). This however blocks use of the Kinect by our
    PsychKinect() driver. If you want the Kinect as 3D depths camera with
    our driver or other Kinect-specific software, you need to disable the
    standard Linux kinect driver “gspca_kinect” by black-listing it. On
    Ubuntu Linux (and probably most other distributions) you can do this
    by copying the file linux_blacklist_kinectvideo from Psychtoolboxs
    PsychContributed folder to Linux /etc/modprobe.d/ directory as a root
    user. This is most simply done by executing this function InstallKinect,
    and blindly entering your password while logged in as a user with
    administrator rights (as the script calls the sudo command).

  2. After this procedure, the Kinect should be fully usable by Psychtoolbox.

Mac OS/X

See the OS/X section at
You will need libfreenect version 0.1.2 or compatible for this to work.

The easiest way to get these libraries on OSX is via Homebrew.
Get it at:

Once Homebrew is installed, one first needs to “brew install automake”,
and “brew install autoconfig”, and potentially cmake before one can
“brew install libfreenect”.

If you want to also use the Kinect for Windows, instead of only the
“original” XBOX-360 kinect, then you will need libfreenect version 0.3 or

PsychKinectCore links dynamically against those two libraries. We don’t
distribute them for now, as that would require us to distribute the
corresponding source code of libusb-1.0.0 as well due to LGPLv2


This is still early prototype software, expect bugs, bumps and hickups.

The Kinect driver has been successfully tested with “Microsoft XBox
Kinect”. This version doesn’t yet work with “Microsoft Kinect for
Windows”, due to lack of support in the libfreenect-0.1.2 library.

Further installation instructions for other systems can be found at

Licenses: The driver consists of multiple components, which are licensed
under different free software / open source licenses. The drivers are
developed and licensed to you by their respective developers, the members
of the OpenKinect community. See the respective web sites and licenses
for copyright, authors, credits etc.:

libusb - The underlying USB communication library is licensed under LGPL.
libfreenect - The Kinect driver is dual-licensed (at your option) under
GPLv2 or Apache license.

The source code of the Windows version of the Kinect driver and libusb
can be found after checking out Psychtoolbox’s C source code from our GIT
repository (see “help UseTheSource” for instructions) as a zip file


The source code for libfreenect (Unix aka Linux / MacOS/X) can be found


The source code of libusb-1.0 can be found at:


Path   Retrieve current version from GitHub | View changelog