Maximum number of Kinect for Windows v2 Cameras on one PC? RRS feed

  • Question

  • There is a question about the previous iteration of the Microsoft Kinect for Windows (no longer on sale) here:

    How many Kinect for Windows v2 sensors can be used on a single PC? And if this is limited to 1, is this a software, or a hardware restriction?

    Friday, February 6, 2015 1:48 PM

All replies

  • Only one Kinect for Windows v2 sensor is supported. It is both a runtime and hardware issue of the system due to available USB3 bandwidth could only support one sensor. You would need a system with multiple USB3 host controllers in addition to those host controls on separate PCI Express 2.0 buses at a minimum. If you had a system with Gen 3 it would be possible to have 2 maybe 3, but not something that is tested.

    Carmine Sirignano - MSFT

    Friday, February 6, 2015 7:22 PM
  • Alright, so if I have multiple USB3 PCI cards, would the SDK allow me to address these multiple sensors?
    Friday, February 6, 2015 7:45 PM
  • Not really sure, but I don't think so. Carmine also said that it is a runtime issue. In this post, he said that there is only one sensor for the runtime.
    Monday, February 9, 2015 11:03 AM
  • right, the runtime will only access one senor.

    Carmine Sirignano - MSFT

    Monday, February 9, 2015 8:12 PM
  • Are there plans for this to change, or be lifted?
    Monday, February 9, 2015 8:16 PM
  • Nothing has been announced.

    Carmine Sirignano - MSFT

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:30 PM
  • Are there plans for this to change, or be lifted?

    No.  No product roadmap anyway.

    The reasoning requires you to look at it from an engineering standpoint.  The Kinect uses a lot (more than half) of the available bus bandwidth to operate normally.  So even though you could physically connect two or more sensors, there is no feasible way to have them both sustain enough of a data rate for them to operate normally using the existing hardware.

    I'm no hardware expert, but from what I have been told, the solution is harder than just having multiple USB 3.0 controllers in the same PC.

    As for "plans for this to change", rest assured that people want this, and that there are clever engineers thinking about solutions, but due to technical limitations, there is no product roadmap yet that allows for multiple kinects sensors on a single PC.  And because of the technological limitations, it will never just be "lifted".  The hardware needs to change for this to work.

    * * *

    Another thing to consider is that, from a physics standpoint, Kinects do interfere with each other (slightly) when operating in the same space.  It's not at all dissimilar from two people trying to have a conversation in the same room -- some words of the conversation will be missed.  The more people in the room, the more difficult it is to hear one another.  For the Kinect, the quality of the depth results, for example, is diminished by having two kinects operating in the same space, but the visible light cameras continue to operate unimpeded.  The sensor is cleverly designed to "tolerate" the light patterns from other kinects, but they can't completely ignore those patterns and conflicts do occur --  so it does degrade slightly with noise from each additional sensor.  It's using invisible light, so the problem tends to be "out of sight, out of mind" for us as users.  But at some (modest) limit, it becomes mathematically impossible to multiplex the light patterns from additional Kinects using the current specs (somewhere around 16 kinects based on the patterns, IIRC).

    So there are other physical and technological hurdles to overcome with operating multiple Kinects in the same space, even if they were all connected to different PCs connected in a network cluster or something like that.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:59 PM