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The OpenNI2 device driver for YARP exposes streams of data (color and depth videos, skeleton user tracking) from RGB-D sensors, including: Asus Xtion Pro, Kinect v1 and Kinect v2 (soon).

Note: other projects with similar purposes exist:

  1., based on OpenNI version 1 or Microsoft Kinect SDK;
  2. Kinect YARP device driver, also based on OpenNI 1.


This driver was tested on Debian Jessie (stable), Ubuntu 12.04+ and Mac OS X 10.8.4+.


For Debian and Ubuntu, install the following dependencies:

sudo apt-get install g++ python libusb-1.0-0-dev libudev-dev freeglut3-dev doxygen graphviz

Also, you must have installed a Java SDK.

Debian Wheezy (oldstable) is not supported by OpenNI2, due to glibc version being < 2.14.

For MacOS X, the above packages are either preinstalled or available through Homebrew.


Install OpenNI2 (from zip packages or from GitHub source - see and NiTE2.

For Mac OS X, OpenNI2 is also available through Homebrew.

Environment variables

Follow the installation instructions for OpenNI2 and NiTE2 by running the respective scripts. These scripts will create two files called OpenNIDevEnvironment and NiTEDevEnvironment. To copy their content permanently into your .bashrc, do:

cat OpenNIDevEnvironment >> ~/.bashrc
cat NiTEDevEnvironment >> ~/.bashrc

At the end of this process, you will have these environment variables:

OPENNI2_INCLUDE: full path to OpenNI2/Include
OPENNI2_REDIST: full path to OpenNI2/arch-Release 
NITE2_INCLUDE: full path to NiTE-OS-arch-2.x
NITE2_REDIST64 or NITE2_REDIST: full path to NiTE-OS-arch-2.x/Redist

where OS = Linux, arch = x64 or x86.

Enabling OpenNI2 YARP driver

In the CMake configuration for YARP, set the following:

ENABLE_yarpmod_OpenNI2DeviceServer ON
ENABLE_yarpmod_OpenNI2DeviceClient ON

Finalizing the installation

These final steps are necessary to not incur in runtime errors like Couldn't create user tracker.

The OpenNI2 YARP driver must always be called from a directory that contains a copy (or symbolic link) of the NiTE.ini file from the stock NiTE2 distribution, properly configured. To prepare such a setup, do something along these lines:

mkdir ~/yarp_openni2_root
cd ~/yarp_openni2_root
cp $NITE2_REDIST64/NiTE.ini .
// or if you have the 32-bit version:
// cp $NITE2_REDIST/NiTE.ini .

Edit NiTE.ini, setting DataDir to be the full path to $NITE2_REDIST64/NiTE2 (or $NITE2_REDIST/NiTE2).

Now you're ready to call the yarpdev command from the yarp_openni2_root directory.

Support for different RGB-D cameras

PrimeSense-compatible sensors

These sensors (Asus Xtion, Carmine) work out of the box with the driver.

Kinect v1

Install libfreenect, including the OpenNI2-freenect bridge. Then copy (or create a symbolic link of) inside yarp_openni2_root/OpenNI2/Drivers.

Kinect v2

Support coming soon.


To print a list of all available options (help):

yarpdev --device OpenNI2DeviceServer --verbose

General options:

option description default
--name Set port prefix. /OpenNI2
--printVideoModes Print supported video modes.
--depthVideoMode Set depth camera video mode. 0 (i.e., 320x240 @ 30fps)
--colorVideoMode Set color (RGB) camera video mode. 0 (i.e., 320x240 @ 30fps)
--noRGB Disable color (RGB) camera, while keeping depth sensor and user skeleton enabled. Useful for RGB-less sensors and to reduce CPU load. off (i.e., RGB on)
--noMirror Disable mirroring. Mirroring causes the video stream to appear as if seen in a mirror, i.e., the image is transformed by reflecting all pixels across the vertical axis. off (i.e., mirroring on)
--noUserTracking Disable skeleton user tracking. Useful to reduce CPU load. off (i.e., user tracking on)
--minConfidence x (double) Set minimum confidence required by skeleton user tracking. 0.6
--syncFrames Keep color and depth frames always in temporal sync. off
--imageRegistration Align color and depth video streams. This computation is performed on the sensor hardware. off

Other options related to recording and playback:

option description default
--record filename.oni Record (save) to the specified oni file.
--playback filename.oni Playback the specified oni file.
--loop Force the playback to loop. off (i.e., playback stops after one run)

Note: in playback, options like --depthVideoMode and --colorVideoMode are ignored.

Output and data format

The driver opens these ports:

  • [portPrefix]/userSkeleton:o - userSkeleton detection port (only opened if user detection is on)
  • [portPrefix]/depthFrame:o - depth frame port
  • [portPrefix]/imageFrame:o - rgb camera frame port

imageFrame:o and depthFrame:o stream YARP images (PixelRGB and PixelMono16, respectively), and if connected to a yarpview, the video is available.

During tracking, userTracker:o contains YARP Bottles in the following format:

([USER] userID) [POS] (x y z) positionConfidence [ORI] (w x y z) orientationConfidence ...


  • the part between "[POS]" and "orientationConfidence" is repeated as many times as the number of skeleton joints (15: HEAD NECK LEFT_SHOULDER RIGHT_SHOULDER LEFT_ELBOW RIGHT_ELBOW LEFT_HAND RIGHT_HAND TORSO LEFT_HIP RIGHT_HIP LEFT_KNEE RIGHT_KNEE LEFT_FOOT RIGHT_FOOT)
  • the position is expressed in 3D Cartesian coordinates
  • the orientation is expressed in four-dimensional quaternions

Using the driver from an application

Refer to


Advanced options

In case you do not want to use RPATH, toggle CMAKE_SKIP_INSTALL_RPATH to ON in YARP. With this setting, the YARP OpenNI2 driver must always be called from a directory that contains a copy (or symbolic link) of the stock OpenNI2 and NiTE2 'Drivers' directories. To prepare such a setup, do something along these lines:

mkdir ~/yarp_openni2_root
cd ~/yarp_openni2_root
cp -R $NITE2_REDIST64/NiTE2 .
// or if you have the 32-bit version:
// cp -R $NITE2_REDIST/NiTE2 .

and call the yarpdev command from the yarp_openni2_root directory.

Troubleshooting for OS X

Due to a combination of changes in the handling of RPATHs in Yosemite and CMake 3, the following is needed (once) before running the device:

install_name_tool -id $PWD/libNiTE2.dylib libNiTE2.dylib
install_name_tool -change libOpenNI2.dylib /usr/local/lib/ni2/libOpenNI2.dylib libNiTE2.dylib