jit.freenect.grab | Kinect in Max/MSP/Jitter

What is it?

jit.freenect.grab is an external object that allows you to grab images and control Microsoft Kinect devices from within Cycling 74’s Max/MSP/Jitter. jit.freenect.grab makes use of the OpenKinect project’s libfreenect library. It is being developed by Jean-Marc Pelletier, Nenad Popov and with help from Andrew Roth.


  • Retrieve RGB images.
  • Retrieve depth maps.
  • Retrieve images from the infrared camera.
  • Retrieve accelerometer readings.
  • Control the Kinect’s tilt motor.
  • Use multiple Kinects simultaneously. (Depth sensors may interfere with each other.)


The latest version of jit.freenect.grab is “Release Candidate 5”, which was released on 2012-3-7. The object requires Max 5 with Jitter and only runs on Intel Macs with OS 10.5 or later.

Note: this version is not compatible with the newest Kinects. I unfortunately do not have the time to update the external.

Download jit.freenect.grab release candidate 5 and its help file.

Once you have downloaded the files, you only need to place them in the “Cycling 74” folder inside the “Max 5” Application folder.

jit.freenect.grab is released under the Apache 2.0 license. You can download the source from the main Github repository.



  • dagfooyo says:

    This is SWEEEET! Any chance of seeing a release soon that’s compatible with Jitter for PC?

  • jovansystem says:

    Eventually, yes, I’d like to have a Windows version out as soon as possible. I can’t tell you for sure when that’s going to be, though.

  • wow awesome! I have been waiting for this to be developed before I bought the camera, I am so excited

    thank you so much

    if I can manage to make some money from my project I will donate some to you

    I love you

  • karan says:

    will it come to win ver pleaseeee

  • xavier says:

    It sounds great.
    Do you think that window’s users will get the luck to try it soon ?

  • Yago says:

    PLEASE make a PC release . This works like a charm on Mac! Amazing job, thank you so much

  • Any chance a beta of a jit.freeskeletons is coming soon?

  • jovansystem says:

    Skeletons would be nice indeed. Unfortunately, unless I manage to find a 30-hour day, I’m going to have a hard time coming up with anything anytime soon. Alas…

  • Reckoner says:

    I can’t get it to work! I see the name in the max objects but i doesn’t have any input or outputs :'(

  • Hi,
    I am one of those folks who are in desperate need of a Windows-version of your library. I made a few naive attempts of comiling them myself on my machine but failed miserably.

    Any hints what to do here (or when a windows port will be available) would make me really happy.

    Especially because your lib is supporting TWO Kinects (and this is what I need)

    Big thanks in advance 🙂

  • dim and out2_dim

    I cannot seem to get the dim and out2_dim attributes to work. Neither as attributes in the object as messages send to the object. What I expected when sending “dim 320 240” would be a change in dimensions of the depth signal to 320px by 240px. The same for out2_dim for the regular camera. Is there something I doing wrong?

    Anyways, Thanks for your great effort on this object.

    Best, Frans-Jan

  • Michel says:

    Thanks for the frenect.grab!

    The rc2 and 3 works, but only for 1 to 5 hours. Then the max5.1.7 crashes or freezing. This happens also to a friend of me. So I test it on my self on a MacMini Alu with OSX 10.6.6.

    Do some have the same problem?

  • I’m having a serious issue with latest jit.freenect.grab : it consumes my RAM !

    with the help patch, I can see in the system activity monitor that Max memory usage is growing quite quickly : about 0.1 Mo / second.
    when I close jit.freenect.grab.maxhelp memory stops growing but do not decreases.

    so after a couple of hours of usage, Max takes hundreds of Mo of RAM, and finally crashes…

    same problem on a macBookPro corei7 / osX.6.8
    and a macPro quad Core Xeon / osX.6.8
    + uptodate Max & Jitter.

    does anyone has the same problem ?
    any workaround ?

    thanks in advance.


  • Jon Bellona says:

    Excellent work! I wanted to comment and share a Max interface for the Kinect that utilizes openni github libraries, and also includes your external. Downloadable here:
    I was inspired to create a simple interface for use with the Kinect and Max so that I could take control of user tracking. I know you have got the Max external going, but figured this might help any interested user in getting the Kinect setup with user tracking for Max/MSP. I’ve tried to be diligent about citing sources.


  • Charles Bascou says:

    First thank you for this great object … so fun to have it in max !!

    I’m trying to recompile jit.freenect.grab from sources to try to fix the memory leak issue.
    I managed to build the object with latest libfreenect and libusb 1.0.8 but the object outputs no image .. it seems that there is a problem with the usb data transfer.
    What was your build setup for the rc3 ?
    Which versions of libfreenect and libusb do you use ?

    Thanks for your help

  • Sean H says:


    Just a simple question– are there any additional drivers or back-end software (xcode, open kinect, etc.) required to get this external working? I’ve tried my kinect on two different machines, but am still unable to get an IR image– just the RGB image.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Adrien says:

    Thanks for all your amazings works but PC users are feeling very lonely…:-)
    Any chances to have a PC version of jit.freenect.grab in the next months?
    Thanks anyway,

  • Great work!

    I’m stumped at how to convert the IR feed (left outlet) to do image processing with the cv.jit objects, for example
    I saw a patch posted on the Max forum where you converted the image to HSL for coloring distance… but then hsl2rbg doesn’t produce a video that behaves like argb videos (can’t convert to luma for example)
    What am I missing


  • JNoble says:

    Just wondering if you have thought of doing an update of jit.freenect.grab for MAX6. Does not seem to communicate at all with Kinect though have been using it extensively with same setup in MAX5. Thanks for all your work!

  • TIm says:

    Hi! I just downloaded the rc4, placed the files in there correct folders, but when i try to add this object in Max i can’t find it. I’m using Max 6. Have i missed something or is it as i fear that this external object isn’t supported in max 6?

  • Mark P says:

    Is there any way to disable the depth processing? For one project I would like to use just the Kinect natural-light camera. Right now, stripping out everything, it still takes 26% of the CPU when the object is on and nothing else (even display windows disconnected). (The previous version was 33%, so this is a big improvement.) But other cameras only take about 20% of the CPU, and I’m maxed out with the graphics on the application, so right now I can’t use this. I think if there was some way to disable whatever internal processing of the depth data, then the CPU usage would go way down for the natural-light camera alone. Thanks

  • Graham says:

    Hey man thanks for the patch.

    Just wondering if there is any way to show the raw out put data becuase i would like to use that data to explore depth tracking.

    Thanks anayway

  • jovansystem says:

    Graham, yes you can obtain the raw depth, RGB and IR data. As a matter of fact, this is more or less all this external does.

  • desnos says:

    excuse stupid question !!!

    you write :

    The object requires Max 5 //

    also work in Max 6 or are there problem ?

  • alexis says:

    hola amigos , el objeto jit.freenect.grab no tiene entradas ni salidas ?como podria reparar esto? gracias , saludos desde chile!

  • karl krach says:

    i am just wondering: is there any chance of a max 64 bit-compatible version of jit.freenect.grab coming soon?
    i really love your tools and i do quite miss them…!
    all the best

    • jovansystem says:

      Hi, sorry, I don’t have any time to dedicate to this project anymore… It’s open source, so if some enterprising soul (wink, wink) wants to have a stab at re-compiling, that would be great.

  • michelli says:

    hi, im not able to run simultaneous two kinect.
    i can turn on an of both kinects but only the first one have a frame rate and pictures.
    does someone work successfully with two kinects?
    thanks in advance

  • michelli says:

    sorry, i mean with rc4 and rc5 on lion

  • Martina says:

    Hi! First, must say your tool is amazing! And I must thank you for it! 🙂
    Second, there seems to be a known strange thing happening with the jit.freenect.grab: whenever I use it, or even just open the help file I get in the max window this yellow looking message: float32 bad number.
    Also here in the forum some people pointed it out:

    Any chance to know why? Is this affecting the functionality of the object itself?
    Thanks in advance!

    • jovansystem says:

      Hi, I think this might be because you’re using 64-bit Max. I don’t know if this affects functionality.

  • Mark Smithers says:

    Thank you so much for these awesome externals! I have download the ‘latest build from the Github repository’ (updated on 2015.4.30) but the drawing externals (cv.jit.blobs.bounds.draw, cv.jit.blobs.centroids.draw etc) are missing. How can I get these?

  • Matthieu.T says:

    I have a problem with the kinect V1 on macbook pro M1.
    I am receiving the image from the depth camera, but the IR or rgb image is glitchy, any help/id?

  • Tony says:

    Have you considered making a kickstarter to fund an update for the Kinect azure?
    All best

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