Kinect for Windows – Near Mode

With the new Kinect for Windows to be shipped in February, Microsoft introduces the so called near-mode. There is a good write-up about it at the Microsoft blog. It seems as the hardware setup remains quite the same (lenses, base-offset), but the firmware changes. The near-mode can be activated through a software switch in the Kinect SDK.

I guess this all means that the OpenNI driver, which ReconstructMe is currently based on, won’t be able to switch the near-mode on and off in the near future. However, others have reported that under certain lighting conditions the Kinect is already capable of seeing objects as close as 400mm. A short in-house test revealed that valid z-depth values start as close as 405mm using XBox Kinect and OpenNI drivers.

I think that switching from OpenNI to KinectSDK won’t be a great benefit, as it would rule out other OpenNI compatible devices such as the ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE and would additionally bind ReconstructMe to the windows platform. Rather, we are considering to provide dual driver support.

Update 2012/03/22 As of today we use a dual driver model to support OpenNI and Kinect for Windows.

12 thoughts on “Kinect for Windows – Near Mode

  1. Jaco

    I know you can get adaptors for the kinect to enable “close” range viewing. I came across it once when I was looking for cheap kinects. It’s supposed to decrease the range that you have to stand to be able to use the kinect for full body games. Suppose this is for the poeple like me who does not have a very big living room. :)
    I will try to find a link to the adaptors, but it was a while ago. Will keep you posted.

    1. Gunter Weber

      There´s a much simpler and cheaper solution for test purposes:
      Simply put cheap readymade glasses (as you can find in drugstores for 2.-€) on your Kinect. Chose a model with lenses as big as possible without frame to cover IR and image sensor with one lens and the IR projector with the other….. Bowing a metal frame makes it easy to put it in front of your Kinect.
      Using 2+ dioptrin the nearby clipping plane moves towards a distance of about 40cm and the depth values are “condensed” on a smaller range (i´m gonna try stronger glasses).
      Sidekick: Calibration isn´t right any more, so you get somehow bowed data. To correct these would need a new lens distortion calibration.
      Think you´ll get the same with the NYKO “zoom” – which is actually a wide angle lens.

      1. Christoph Heindl Post author

        True. It’s not so much about the price in our case. We have no clue how well such a system attaches to the Kinect as we are rapidly moving it around. As you know, a slight movement of the lense would make any calbration invalid.

        We’ve now ordered an ASUS device and we will check compliance with this device, before trying out any other Kinect mods.

        Best Christoph

  2. Senor Freebie

    I have a Kinect for Windows and I’ve quickly discovered it’s kind of useless for all these OpenNI applications, so far as I can tell, since the driver doesn’t seem to work. I’m hoping that ends up getting rectified, but until then I’ll be crossing my fingers that projects like yours do end up with dual driver support.

    1. Christoph Heindl Post author

      That’s what we assumed as well. As far as dual driver support is concerned, there is only two things that currently stop us from implementing it.

      KinectSDK requires MSVC10, we currently develop under MSVC9
      KinectSDK is free only for non-commercial uses. In that case we would only supply it with our free non-commercial version

Leave a Reply