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Make a Kimotion!

A framework for building interactive art.

Kimotion sample

Pics are good but videos are better.


Here's the fastest way to get set up:

  1. Clone or download this repository
  2. ./
  3. Open http://localhost:8000

By default, Kimotion plays a recording, so you don't need a Kinect or Leap to have fun.

Creating your own mod

This needs to be added to the README. Until then, please see Kimotion Modding 101.

Kinect installation

In order to run Kimotion with live data from a Kinect, a few more things need to be installed:

  • Node.js and npm: Fedora: yum install nodejs npm, Ubuntu: apt-get install nodejs npm

  • NumPy: Fedora: yum install numpy, Ubuntu: apt-get install python-numpy

  • libfreenect (with python bindings), which you'll need in order to hook up a real Kinect via USB. On Fedora, yum install libfreenect libfreenect-python, on Ubuntu: apt-get install freenect python-freenect.

Once those are installed, launch the websocket server:

cd server

Then open Kimotion (see quick-start), choose a mod that uses the Kinect, like 'sandstorm'. Voila!

DiMo 2014 Silhouettes photo

Leap Motion installation

To install the Leap Motion on Fedora, follow these steps:

Q. How can I install on Fedora?
A. For Fedora 21 and later, first install alien and convert Leap-*-x64.deb
into a rpm package as follows.
sudo yum update
sudo yum install alien
sudo alien -rv --scripts Leap-*-x64.deb
Next, run:
sudo rpm -ivh --nodeps --force leap-*-2-x86_64.rpm

Q. How do I uninstall on Fedora?
A. Run:
rpm -ev leap-*-2-x86_64.rpm

This needs to be added to the README. Until then, please see Kimotion Modding 101.

2D mods and 3D mods

In the constructor of your mod, you may choose which mode to use, 2D or 3D.

2D mode uses the excellent p5js library. This mode is easier to get started with, so I recommend using it first.

To enable 2D mode, place this in your mod's constructor:


3D mode uses the equally excellent threejs library. It's larger than p5, and has a steeper learning curve, but if you'd like to use some 3D effects, go for it! Some of the existing mods use threejs, so peek at them for some examples.

To enable 3D mode, place this in your mod's constructor:




  • What's up with bower? Front-end libraries are managed in bower, but I take it upon myself to copy the installed versions directly into this repo. It's a tradeoff, but the benefit is that newcomers can contribute to Kimotion without installing anything.

Making your own Leap Motion Recording

Follow these steps to create a recording:

  1. With your Leap plugged in, go to the Leap recorder page.
  2. Click Record to begin the recording
  3. Wave your hand around!
  4. When done, click Record again to stop the recording.
  5. Click Download

You should now have a file named something like leap-playback-recording-110fps.json.lz. Now let's copy that recording into Kimotion.

  1. Move your leap-playback-recording-110fps.json.lz file into your mod's directory. For example, src/mods/mymod/.
  2. Rename it to something shorter (optional), like recording.json.lz.
  3. Open your mod's main.js file, find the set_input call and add the path to your recording.

For example:

// before
// after!
this.set_input('leap', 'mods/example2d/recording.json.lz');

Your mod now has its own recording! Refresh your mod to see it. Make sure the "Use recording?" box is checked!

Using Kinect recordings

If you'd like to use a Kinect recording, I highly recommend installing the http-server package from npm.

npm install -g http-server

Now, when you run Kimotion's ./, it will launch http-server instead, with gzip enabled. Kinect recordings are huge and otherwise take a long time to download, even from localhost.

The default recording will play if you have Use recording? checked, but you can choose from other recordings as well. In your mod's constructor, pass the recording file you wish to use into set_input.

this.set_input('kinect', 'recordings/kinect/handtracking.bin');

(Note: the recordings are all gzipped. If you don't install http-server, you'll need to extract them before using a recording.)


A framework for building interactive art installations. Supports Kinect and Leap Motion input.




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