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Notes on Setting up the Microsoft Azure Kinect on Ubuntu 18.04

Azure Kinect on Ubuntu 18.04

Notes on Installing Microsoft Azure Kinect Sensor and Body Tracking SDKs on Linux PC and NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX


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Installing Sensor SDK on Linux PC

See Microsoft's Installation Guide

1. Add link to Microsoft's Linux Software Repository for AMD64

By adding microsoft's code repository to your system so that you can call sudo apt install xxx to install system wide.

Guide for Configuring the Repository

Here are Microsoft's Instructions:

curl | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-add-repository
sudo apt-get update

I ran into errors with these instructions. Here's how I solved them:

  1. Install curl if you haven't already.
sudo apt update && upgrade
sudo apt install curl
  1. Specify the architecture of the repository. Running the repository command, I got this error on runningsudo apt-get update: N: Skipping acquire of configured file 'main/binary-i386/Packages' as repository '' doesn't support support architecture 'i386'.

Turns out you need specify the architecture of the repository to [arch=amd64]:

  • Log in as root:
sudo -i
  • Modify etc/apt/sources.list. At the bottom of the file, change from:
deb bionic main
# deb-src bionic main


deb [arch=amd64] bionic main
# deb-src [arch=amd64] bionic main

and save.

  • Log out of root:
  1. Rerun sudo apt-get update

2. Install Kinect Packages

If there are no more errors, you should be able to install the Kinect packages install libk4a1.X libk4a1.X-dev k4a-tools

If you install k4a-tools first, it automatically downloads the latest version of libk4a1.X. Take note of the version for installing libk4a1.X-dev (it must be the same version as libk4a1.X).

sudo apt install k4a-tools
sudo apt install libk4a1.4-dev

If you mess up, you can always uninstall and try again using sudo apt remove k4a-tools

3. Finish Device Setup

Finish device setup by setting up udev rules:

  • Copy 'scripts/99-k4a.rules' into '/etc/udev/rules.d/'.
  • Detach and reattach Azure Kinect devices if attached during this process.

4. Run an App

To run an app, you just call it directly in the terminal:


You may get a warning to upgrade your firmware when running k4aviewer the first time. See instructions below.

The k4aviewer, k4arecorder, and AzureKinectFirmwareTool downloaded through k4a-tools are all located in /usr/bin.

Installing Sensor SDK on Jetson Xavier NX

At the time of writing (June 2020), Microsoft has debian packages for Ubuntu 18.04 for AMD64 and ARM64. However, this is the first release for ARM: there are some bugs and the Body Tracking SDK is not yet supported. More details on that below.

1. Add Microsoft's product repository for ARM64

curl | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-add-repository
sudo apt-get update

2. Install Kinect Package

Same as instructions above.

3. Finish Device Setup

Same as instructions above.

4. Increase default USB memory for Ubuntu

By default, Linux-based host computers allocate the USB controller only 16 MB of kernel memory to handle USB transfers. This amount is supposed to be enough to support a single Azure Kinect ... so this step might not be necessary. But I went ahead and did it anyway just to be safe.

Microsoft has instructions for this, however Jetson boards don't have grub. So instead, I used these instructions from FLIR for the Jetson TX2.

To acquire images greater than 2 MB in resolution, add the following to the APPEND line:


to this file:


If this method fails to set the memory limit, run the following command:

sudo sh -c 'echo 1000 > /sys/module/usbcore/parameters/usbfs_memory_mb'

Here's a good overview of why USBFS matters for usb camera on Linux, also from FLIR

Notes on Running on Jetson Xavier NX

  1. The Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit seems compatible with minimum system requirements of the Azure Kinect.
  2. I'm running my X NX 15W 6CORE mode with 250 GB NVMe SSD added to the DK.
    • See this Jetson Hacks repo for a walkthrough of adding NVMe storage to the Jetson X NX.
  3. Testing with k4aviewer, I got the following warnings and errors:

This warning is constant, but harmless:

[ warning  ] : depth_engine_thread(). Depth image processing is too slow at 1000ms (this may be transient).

This is a bug that crashes the data stream when the color camera is enabled:

[ error    ] : DecodeMJPEGtoBGRA32(). MJPEG decode failed: -1
[ warning  ] : capturesync_add_capture(). Capture Error Detected, Color 
[ error    ] : capturesync_get_capture(device->capturesync, capture_handle, timeout_in_ms) returned failure in k4a_device_get_capture()

Disabling the Color Camera avoids the errors, however there's a fix in the next release, 1.4.1. But you can download the beta with the fix now:

  1. From from the k4aviewer app, I consistently got 30FPS from the 3 different camera streams and 60FPS.

    • 3-4 of the 6 CPUs were maxing out, with the other 2-3 running at 50% (with a few chrome tabs open).
    • You can max out all the CPUs just by opening a lot of tabs.
    • Disabling a camera frees up a CPU.
    • Microphone Array and IMU also worked reliably.
  2. The Body Tracking SDK does not run on ARM yet ... supposedly that is coming soon though.

Installing Body Tracking SDK

See Microsoft's Instructions

The Body Tracking SDK is not currently supported on ARM ... supposedly that is coming soon though.

At the time of writing, the latest Body Tracking SDK (version 1.0.0) has a dependency on version 1.3 of the Sensor SDK. However, k4a-tools is dependent on version 1.4. It's currently not possible to have multiple SDKs installed, so you have to pick one.

To downgrade from SDK 1.4 to 1.3:

  1. Remove the 1.4 SDK.
sudo apt remove k4a-tools
sudo apt remove libk4a1.4
sudo apt remove libk4a1.4-dev
  1. Install the 1.3 Sensor and Body Tracking SDKs.
sudo apt install k4a-tools=1.3.0 k4a1.3-dev k4abt1.0 k4abt1.0-dev
  1. Run the apps

Updating Firmware for Azure Kinect

See Microsoft's Instructions

  1. Download the latest firmware's .bin file (at the time it was here).
  • You can check the firmware of your connected device by running $AzureKinectFirmwareTool -q in the terminal.
  1. In the terminal, go to the directory with the firmware and update with the AzureKinectFirmwareTool: AzureKinectFirmwareTool.exe -u <device_firmware_file.bin>
AzureKinectFirmwareTool -u AzureKinectDK_Fw_1.6.108079014.bin

I got the following error when running the firmware tool:

ERROR: The device failed to reset after an update. Please manually power cycle the device.
[2020-06-10 11:33:27.424] [error] [t=19238] /__w/1/s/extern/Azure-Kinect-Sensor-SDK/src/firmware/firmware.c (61): firmware_t_get_context(). Invalid firmware_t (nil)
[2020-06-10 11:33:27.425] [error] [t=19238] /__w/1/s/extern/Azure-Kinect-Sensor-SDK/src/firmware/firmware.c (313): Invalid argument to firmware_get_device_version(). firmware_handle ((nil)) is not a valid handle of type firmware_t
ERROR: Failed to get updated versions

After power cylcing and unplugging from USB, the firmware did in fact update.


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@valdivj valdivj commented Sep 29, 2020



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@madelinegannon madelinegannon commented Sep 29, 2020



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@ArturNiederfahrenhorst ArturNiederfahrenhorst commented Dec 4, 2020

Thank you!


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@NehilDanis NehilDanis commented Jan 5, 2021

Awesome, thanks a lot!


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@LogWell LogWell commented Jan 8, 2021

solution for:

Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Y
Preconfiguring packages ...
(Reading database ... 141839 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../libk4a1.3_1.3.0_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking libk4a1.3 (1.3.0) ...
dpkg: error processing archive /var/cache/apt/archives/libk4a1.3_1.3.0_amd64.deb (--unpack):
 trying to overwrite '/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/', which is also in package libk4a1.1-dev 1.1.1
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

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@madelinegannon madelinegannon commented Jan 8, 2021

@LogWell thanks for sharing :)


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@LogWell LogWell commented Jan 8, 2021

Have you tried to extract color, depth and mask with C++(not k4aviewer or k4abt_simple_3d_viewer) on Ubuntu18? I encountered some problems when extracting mask(body tracking), hope someone can discuss it together

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