Download the free Kinect Mocap Toolkit For Windows
An early demo of Mesh Online’s Kinect-based motion capture technology, recorded on macOS. The system now supports 360-degree recording using up to four Kinect sensors, and is available for Windows.
Mesh Online – aka Unity tools developer Mingfen Wang – has released Kinect Mocap Toolkit For Windows 1.0, a free tool for recording full-body motion capture data using up to four Microsoft Kinect sensors.
The source code on which the software is based has been online since 2017, but the new 1.0 release makes it available as a compiled Windows binary, and implements a true 360-degree capture field.
Needs the original Kinect sensor: you can pick up econd-hand units cheaply
Originally intended as a gaming controller, Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor quickly became the tool of choice for many indie artists looking for a low-cost motion capture system on its release in 2010.
While the original Kinect hasn’t been sold since 2015, and the entire Kinect consumer product line was discontinued in 2017, it’s still possible to find second-hand units: they currently sell on eBay for around $20.
Capture full-body motion capture data in BVH format using up to four Kinect sensors
Kinect Mocap Toolkit for Windows enables artists to use Kinect for Xbox 360 sensors – it doesn’t work with the Kinect v2, as it uses the third-party NiTE SDK – to record mocap data in BVH format.
Although the software supports up to four sensors out of the box, Mesh Online says that three is usually sufficient, including for fairly demanding use cases like capturing dance moves.
The system doesn’t require manual calibration or any complex set-up work: according to the instructions, once the sensors are connected properly, the only other step is to wrap a piece of light-coloured cloth around one knee so that the software knows which leg is which.
You can find sample data generated by the software and user feedback in the comments to this story on BlenderNation, which dates back to the time of the original source code release.
System requirements and availability
Kinect Mocap Toolkit for Windows is available free for Windows 7+ as both source code and compiled binaries. It works with Kinect for Xbox 360 sensors.
Mesh Online says that there are no plans to port the project to macOS or Linux, but it should be possible to compile from the old source code on GitHub, which was actually developed for macOS.