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.


Please e-mail me if you have comments, suggestions, bug reports, or if you want your project included in the gallery at jmp [at] jmpelletier.com



  1. dagfooyo says:

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. karan says:

    will it come to win ver pleaseeee

  5. xavier says:

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

  6. Yago says:

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

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

  8. 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…

  9. 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 :'(

  10. 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 🙂

  11. 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

  12. 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?

  13. 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.


  14. 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.


  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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,

  18. 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


  19. 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!

  20. 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?

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. desnos says:

    excuse stupid question !!!

    you write :

    The object requires Max 5 //

    also work in Max 6 or are there problem ?

  25. alexis says:

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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

  28. michelli says:

    sorry, i mean with rc4 and rc5 on lion

  29. 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.

  30. 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?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by vokoi and Yousuke Fuyama, Jean-Marc Pelletier. Jean-Marc Pelletier said: jit.freenect.grab page now live! http://jmpelletier.com/freenect/ #openkinect […]

  2. […] and some dedicated members of the forum community have already got a working Jitter object called jit.freenect.grab (currently Mac OS X […]

  3. […] para mis ?apas tecnol?gicas. pues bien, ahora, gracias a otro friki-currante llamado jean-marc ya est? disponible para max/msp. ca?a de […]

  4. […] jit.freenect.grab ? Kinect in Max/MSP/Jitter ? Jean-Marc Pelletier. […]

  5. […] library, as well as a freenect wrapper for both?Processing (courtesy of Daniel Shiffman)?and Max (courtesy of Jean-Marc Pelletier). After a bit of experimentation, I started working with the […]

  6. […] be working with Max later in the semester. This video shows an external object called jit.freenect.grab written by Jean Marc Pelletier, Nenad Popov, and with help from Andrew Roth. It’s basically a […]

  7. […] project (see int.02 and int.01). My development platform is Max, at least for now. The jit.freenect.grab external enables the Kinect in […]

  8. […] http://jmpelletier.com/freenect/ It works pretty well. Finally something that works well to play around. […]

  9. […] eines Kinect zugreifen. Dies ist Jean-Marc Pelletier und anderen Beitragenden zu verdanken, die ein external object f?r Jitter entwickelt haben. Der grafische Ansatz verlangt ein Verst?ndnis f?r den Fluss der […]

  10. […] Our first goal is to program the kinect to be able to make these readings. For this we are using Max/MSP/Jitter 6 and the free kinect externa jitter object to import feed and control several options the kinect can use. This external object can be downloaded here! […]

  11. […] getting Max 6 on Shanna’s computer and the Freenect object, the kinect works awesome! The only problem is that the videos do not work awesome. What my […]

  12. […] : – soit par l’utilisation de l’objet jit.freenect.grab que l’on peut trouver ? http://jmpelletier.com/freenect/ – soit par l’utilisation d’un programme qui construit et envoie en OSC des donn?es […]

  13. […] Kinect just yet. Max, on the other hand was a cinche. Jean-Marc Pelletire has yet again released an external for Jitter that makes me a little bit depressed about my lack of coding knowledge (he’s also responsible […]

  14. […] jit.freenect object lets you grab the video image or depth image from the Kinect into Max. You can then use e.g. […]

  15. […] from camera. So, we are going to replace webcam as input device to Kinect for more information. jit.freenect.grab?object (which is also developed by Jean-Marc Pelletier, the author of cv.jit library) will be used […]

  16. […] access to the Kinect data, I used the jit.freenect external developed by Jean-Marc Pelletier. This is a fantastic, easy to use way to interact with your Kinect from […]

  17. […] installed running an original or demo version -cv.jit Library by Jean-Marc Pelletier installed -Freenect object for Kinect -Macam drivers […]

  18. […] installed running an original or demo version -cv.jit Library by Jean-Marc Pelletier installed -Freenect object for Kinect -Macam drivers […]

  19. […] : – soit par l’utilisation de l’objet jit.freenect.grab que l’on peut trouver ? http://jmpelletier.com/freenect/ – soit par l’utilisation d’un programme qui construit et envoie en OSC des donn?es […]

  20. […] Jean-Marc Pelletier’s amazing Jit.freenect grab tool I was able to join in on the Microsoft Kinect party. I haven’t made anything nearly as […]

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jit.freenect.grab news

jit.freenect.grab Release Candidate 4

A number of people have been writing me about what appeared to be a memory leak in jit.freenect.grab. Indeed, there was. It’s been found, and as far as I can tell, it’s been squashed. If any of you wish to compile the external on your own, please beware that it is the OSX version of […]

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jit.freenect.grab Release Candidate 3

Release candidate 3 is out! jit.freenect.grab It’s now possible to output the raw image from the infrared camera instead of the RGB image. This is the raw data the Kinect uses to estimate depth. This means that by blocking the infrared projector (on the left side of the device) it’s now possible to use the […]

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jit.freenect.grab Release Candidate 2 is out (finally)

Taking a short break from what has been a truly hectic and near-sleepless month, I found the time to upload a slightly improved jit.freenect.grab. Several users have reported to me that jit.freenect.grab stops working after a while. I think I’ve identified the culprit and this new version may solve the problem. I hope so. jit.freenect.grab […]

Read this entry.

jit.freenect.grab page now live

I just published a page for the jit.freenect.grab external I have been working on. It allows users of Max/MSP/Jitter to get depth and image data from their Kinect. Head over to http://jmpelletier.sakura.ne.jp/freenect/ for more info!

Read this entry.