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Welcome to Kimotion Hackathon! Here you'll learn everything you need to get started with hacking on the Kimotion project.

Step 1: Download and Setup

Here's how to set up Kimotion dev environment.

First, you'll need to install NodeJS. Once that's done, in a terminal you can install both grunt and bower, like so:

npm install -g grunt-cli bower

Note: if this command complains about permission (EACCESS_DENIED or some such), follow these instructions instead of resorting to sudo.

Great! Now it's time to install Kimotion.

  1. Log in to GitHub (create an account if you need to)
  2. Go to the Kimotion page
  3. Click Fork in the top right to create your own copy of Kimotion
  4. Copy the 'clone URL' from the sidebar on the right

Finally, run these commands to download your fork of Kimotion, install some dependencies, and perform a build.

git clone
cd Kimotion
npm install && bower install
grunt build:dev

Now all of the Kimotion front-end is installed!

Now, download one or all of the following recordings:

  • ADD
  • SOME
  • HERE

If you're happy using recordings, the server won't require any setup. On the other hand, if you'd like to hook up an actual Kinect via USB, you'll need to install libfreenect.

Step 2: Launch Kimotion

You'll need two terminals open for this.

Launch the Python WebSocket server which delivers Kinect data at ws://localhost:1337:

python server/ -m -f PATH_TO_RECORDING

Or if you chose to use libfreenect and a USB Kinect...

python server/

Also, launch an HTTP server which serves up the Web client at http://localhost:9001:

grunt connect

Now, open localhost:9001 in your favorite browser (so long as it's Firefox or Chrome).

Step 3: Create your own mod!

Create your own mod with the newmod command!

grunt newmod:your_name_here

If you feel comfortable browsing the code and learning that way, see the example mod and the other mods

Mod structure

Your mod has some example code already:

  • constructor() - here you can add any setup for your mod. A title and author field should be set for every mod so your work can be attributed correctly. The constructor gets the gfx object passed in to interact with the ThreeJS renderer
    • add your name and a title to a mod by setting the author and title attributes = "Your name"; = "Your mod name";
    • add_effect() - include a predefined effect from the effects library. See src/effects.js for a list of available effects to test out. Effects are applied in the order they are specified
  • update() - here you can change the gfx object for every rendering. For example, if you wanted to move the ThreeJS camera to the right with every screen refresh, you could do;

The gfx object consists of the following that you can modify in order to make your mod:

  • gfx.conf - This stores the configuration for your mod. For example, the width of the kinect depth field value can be accessed via gfx.conf.kinect.res.width
  • - This is the depth field supplied by the Kinect. This will be a 1D array with width x height elements (with the width and height defined in the conf object).
    • - Current three.js scene
    • - Current three.js camera

Get Started

First, use the grunt mod $my_module_name at the root of the Kimotion project to initialize a new module directory. This module will allow you to create your own visualization for Kimotion. You'll only need to add your code to the following file:


Note: the directory should be the same name as your mod file in that directory.

Let's have the mod do something, like render a cube.

in constructor()

let geometry = new THREE.BoxGeometry( 1, 1, 1 );

Here we're creating a 1x1x1 cube box using three.js

let material = new THREE.MeshBasicMaterial( { wireframe: true } );

This defines the surface area rendering of the object, or the 'coating' that goes on an object

this.cube = new THREE.Mesh( geometry, material );

Create the cube using the previously created geometry and material, using the three.js Mesh object

this.cube.position.z = -2;

An example of moving the cube away from the current camera object this.cube ); this.cube.position );

Add the cube object to the three.js scene, and have the camera look at it. Any visualizations that need to be rendering on screen need to be added to the scene, and the camera can be manipulated to move around the scene (though generally, a lot can be achieved with moving the camera). Sometimes the camera may need to be moved slightly to see your visualizations correctly.

If you've added the constructor to your mod, you could render your mod now but may notice that the cube is there (go to http://localhost:9001). However the cube won't do anything interesting until we update it:

update(gfx) { this.cube.rotation.x += 0.001; this.cube.rotation.y += 0.01; this.cube.rotation.z += 0.0001; super.update(gfx); }

This will rotate the cube in the x, y, and z axis. Navigating back to the cube rendering, you should see now that the cube is rotating.

Using the depth field

This example doesn't make use of the depth field from the Kinect. You can manipulate the visualizations within the update() function based on what is accessed via gfx.depth.