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Small and fast Linux kernel driver for getting depth data from the Kinect sensor.

Also runs on embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi.

This is a fork for the standard Linux kernel modules gspca_main and gspca_kinect, based on upstream Linux kernel commit 6c94e14e7f802011afc1018fc8529e66f40866b9. The standard driver provides camera (color) information, this one provides depth information. They cannot both be used at the same time.

Install (for Linux kernel 3.17+)

As of Linux 3.17, this has been merged into the standard Kinect driver (gspca_kinect); it is already installed.

The the version in Linux 3.17 can either be in color mode or depth mode. This is controlled by the depth_mode command-line argument, depth_mode=0 for camera, depth_mode=1 for depth. You can add this as a kernel command-line argument in the bootloader configuration, in /etc/modprobe.d/, or after boot using modprobe.


echo options gspca_kinect depth_mode=1 > /etc/modprobe.d/kinect-depth.conf


rmmod gspca_kinect
modprobe gspca_kinect depth_mode=1

Install (for Linux kernel <3.17)

Compile and run the same hardware

If you compile the code on the device you want to use it on, you need the kernel source installed and some basic setup. Just search for a guide to compile kernel modules on your OS.

make load

Cross compile for ARM (compile on PC, run on Raspberry Pi)

If you want to compile it for a different architecture (PC to Pi) you also need a cross compiler. Look for a guide to cross compile a kernel and modules for a Pi.

make arm
scp * pi@pi:
ssh pi@pi
make load

Example for Ubuntu 14.04

sudo apt-get install git build-essential

git clone
cd librekinect

make load

Example for Raspbian

This should continue to work as long as Raspbian uses a kernel older than 3.17.

sudo -s
apt-get install build-essential bc ncurses-dev tmux git

cd /usr/src/

# find out which kernel you are using – in my case 3.12.20+
uname -r
# get the source – in my case 3.12.y (change if needed) 
tar xfvz rpi-3.12.y.tar.gz
mv linux-rpi-3.12.y linux

ln -s /usr/src/linux /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build
ln -s /usr/src/linux /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/source 
cd /usr/src/linux

make mrproper

# If using Kernel >= 4.x.x execute:
sudo modprobe configs

# get your config
gzip -dc /proc/config.gz > .config

# building, that is going to take a while!
make modules_prepare
make modules_install

# copy the new kernel image
cp /usr/src/linux/arch/arm/boot/zImage /boot/linux-3.12.y

# choose it
echo "kernel=linux-3.12.y" >> /boot/config.txt


after reboot

git clone
cd librekinect

make load

That worked on my Pi with the current version of Raspbian. It will take some time, if you loose the connection use tmux attach.

If you have a faster way, let me know!


After loading the modules you should have a new /dev/videoX which you can use like a web cam.

For example:

camorama -d /dev/video0
vlc v4l:///dev/video0

This is the standard in linux. You can use it with virtually every program or library, for example OpenCV.

This looks complicated!

But it's not! Try it!


I have a /dev/video0 but I do not get data

  1. Check your Kinect power supply. It needs additional 12V.

  2. Maybe it takes to much from the Raspberry Pi's 5V too, try an active USB hub.

"make" fails

  1. Check if you have the needed tools (gcc ect.)

  2. Do you have the kernel sources? Are they at the right place?

"make load" fails

Is the kernel compatible to the sources you use? Compile a kernel and load it.


Depth data from a kinect sensor! Small and fast kernel driver. Also for embedded devices like the raspberry pi!






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