UPDATE JAN 2012: This guide is featured on Microsoft's MSDN Channel9


In this project, I use left and right hand movements in Kinect to control the rotation of two servos tied to Arduino Uno, which in turn moves the left and right arms of a makeshift stickman. The middleware is written in Visual Basic 2010 and is based on the Microsoft Kinect SDK beta 2.

There are plenty of C++ and C# code examples to interface Kinect to other gadgets, but not many Visual Basic examples. So I figured this project could help folks with mostly VB skills to start hacking Kinect with Arduino.


Kinect keeps track of 20 skeleton joints for each player.  To simplify this project, I extract the coordinates of the left hand and right hand joints only. Then I pass those joint coordinates to an Arduino UNO after I do some scaling in Visual Basic from computer screen size to servo angles. 

I modified the VB code in the Microsoft Quickstart samples because it's well documented and comes with good tutorials. So anyone can review these tutorials to learn more about how this VB code works with Kinect.

The changes I made to the sample VB code were mostly to facilitate serial communications with Arduino as well as to map screen coordinates to the servos angles. In this project, I capture the Y (vertical) movement of the HandLeft and HandRight joints. It should be easy to modify my code to add more servos and joints.


Install all the required Microsoft software following the instructions provided by the vendors. Refer to Microsoft's Kinect for Windows SDK Quickstarts http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/KinectSDKQuickstarts Microsoft did a great job with these tutorials.

The biggest challenge is getting the various packages to work together.  When you successfully run the Kinect demo provided by The Microsoft Kinect SDK, you are half way there. 

The second part is wiring the servos to the Arduino and running my code. 

I kept my code as simple as possible so there's little error trapping and no fancy user interface. You can add that per your requirements.  


For this project, I used two TG9e micro servos powered by the Arduino Uno connected to my PC via USB. For bigger servos with more power needs, you may have to power them separately or else the Arduino will act erratically.

I labeled one servo as the Left Hand servo while the other as the Right Hand servo. If you confuse the servos at some point, the fix is often as simple as changing a line of code instead of rewiring.

Left Servo --->  Arduino Digital Pin 9
Right Servo --->  Arduino Digital Pin 11 

For debugging purposes, you may wish to consider testing your build with one servo before adding another.


In addition to the instructions, you can view my step-by-step screen captured stills. Please click the "i" in the upper left corner of each photo to see the full resolution still.

- Download the "ArduinoXYZ.ino" file (part of the attached techbitar.zip file) and load it into your Arduino UNO via the Arduino IDE 1.0.

- Download KinectForWindowsSDKQuickstarts.zip

-  Find and extract the SkeletalTrackingVB folder and place it under the Projects folder for your Visual Basic 2010 Express.

The SkeletalTrackingVB project files you have extracted have old reference files from an older Kinect SDK and Code4Fun toolkit. We need to delete the old references then add the latest ones.

NOTE: When following my videos or screen captured instructions, please keep in mind that I may have extracted the project and support files to different directories than yours.

- From Visual Basic 2010 IDE explorer, double click on MyProject. You will be presented with a project configuration page.

- Click on the References tab.

- Search for Microsoft.Research.Kinect and delete it.

- Search for Code4Fun.Kinect.wpf and delete it.

- Click on Add.

- Click the Browse tab.

- Search for and add the newer versions of those files which you have downloaded part of the latest Microsoft Kinect SDK and Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit zip files. As of the writing of this guide, the versions for Code4Fun.Kinect.wpf should be and for Microsoft.Research.Kinect

- Download my MainWindow.xaml and MainWindow.xaml.vb (they can be found in the attached techbitar.zip file) which I have attached to this guide and copy them on top of the ones you have extracted under SkeletalTrackingVB\SkeletalTracking folder or cut and paste their content over the extracted files with the same names.

With the Kinect and Arduino connected, you should be able to test the program.

NOTE: The COM port field on the main application window is set to 16. Change this to match the Arduino's COM port on your PC.


The Kinect I am using in this project has its own power supply attached to the USB cable.  I bough this as a stand-alone without the XBOX. Some Kinects don't have an external power supply and get their power from the XBOX. If you have one of those, you will need to buy a Microsoft Kinect power supply which seems overpriced. So before you buy a Kinect/XBOX bundle, check if the bundled Kinect can be powered and operated as a stand-alone.


- Microsoft Kinect
- Arduino Uno
- Micro Servos X 2 (I used TG9e micro servos)
- Breadboards and wires


Arduino IDE 1.0

Microsoft Kinect SDK V1 beta2

Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit 1.1

Microsoft Visual Basic Express 2010

.NET Framework 4

Microsoft DirectX SDK - June 2010 or later version

Runtime for Microsoft DirectX 9

Microsoft Kinect Code4Fun Quickstart VB code (You will overwrite this with my modified version)


Kinect for Windows SDK Quickstarts

Open Kinect

Kinect Hacks

Kinect Motion Capture

Developer: Hazim Bitar
Email: techbitar {at} gmail {dot} com

About This Instructable


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Bio: Did I unplug the solder iron?
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