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Mobile Kinect

Mobile Kinect

Looking to blow some minds with your mad DIY skills? How about fabricating your very own portable Kinect! Thanks to the amazing work of some very talented developers from the University of Bristol, you too can take your 3D depth sensing adventures on the road. Schematics and board layout files along with a hardware shopping list is available for you to check out on their project page if you're interested in learning more.

We have developed a mobile, battery-powered, wireless depth camera based on (and compatible with) Microsoft's Kinect. In order to promote the use of this device across a wide range of domains, we are making the circuit diagrams and PCB layouts for the additional circuitry available. Our design only uses the front 'camera' circuit board of the Kinect, a second bespoke board of the same small size that plugs onto the back of this board in place of the standard large kinect board, which in turn plugs via USB into a Gumstix embedded linux computer running an open source driver and streams via an 802.11n dongle. The design would work equally well with a Raspberry Pi or other SBCs with a bit of hacking.

Their current demo runs at 24fps at about a half hours worth of continuous operating time. Some notable downfalls have been commented on but plans of tightening up the rig are in the works.

The processor inside the gumstix is an ARM Cortex-A8, and is not sufficiently powerful to process both the depth and RGB data on the OpenNI driver (so we turned the RGB off) and maxes out our 802.11n network which is why the framerate is so low on the mobile phone display in the video as it is sending to the phone over the same wifi network.

For more, be sure to check out their project page at