OpenNI vs Astra SDK

I’m interested in using the Persee for body/skeleton tracking.

Can anyone tell me the relative strengths/weaknesses of the two SDKs? Which is easier to work with? Which has better performance? Do the two SDKs have equivalent capabilities?

Also - the develope page says “The Orbbec Body Tracking library (included with Astra SDK Beta) is free to use until September 30, 2018” What happens after September? Does it become a licensed product or will there just be a new release? (And if it will become a product - how much will it be to license?)

Thanks in advance!

Hi Red,

OpenNi is a core framework only - it has no actual body/skeleton tracking capabilities natively built into it. You require some form of middleware software to provide that that sort of capability. The NiTE middleware plugin was an option in the past - but that framework was subsumed by apple and taken off the market some time ago.

To address this ORBBEC created their own framework SDK2.0 and then on top of this integrated their own middleware for skeletal tracking. It delivers capabilities similar to NiTE - though depending on who you talk to - not as reliably.
The ORBBEC framework itself is free - BUT the skeletal tracking system is licenceware. To use it in the long term will require a licence fee - you should write to orrbec customer service directly about this. Not fees have been published in the public arena - but they have indicated in the past that people should talk to them directly.

FWIW the ORBBEC SDK and Skeletal system is still in BETA - and its performance can be somewhat hit and miss - BUT it is improving with every new release.

HOWEVER - the best option in terms of middleware for body/skeletal tracking is currently nuitrack,com BUT its a pay per use system – which means EVERY USER that touches the system needs to purchase a licence - that means EVERY person who uses any code you create as well.


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Thank you for the detailed answer. I found your answer incredibly helpful.

Its amazing to me that there still isn’t a good substitute for the Kinect (and its APIs) in terms of the balance between tracking quality, ease of deployment, and a relatively unencumbered license.

My reading of the Nuitrack site is that license is per sensor not per user/developer: “Paid annual or perpetual license per sensor.” (from their website). Am I misunderstanding something?

While we are on the topic of Nuitrack. The TVico looks like a repackaged Persee but you end up saving $20 when you add in the cost of a license. Any idea if my understanding correct?

Thank you again!

Hey Red,

The thing people forget about Kinect is that microsoft invested enormous amounts of money buying up licences and IP to make their system work. Much the same as apple did when they completely took OpenNI off the market along with the NiTE middleware.

And even then Kinect 1.0 was still a pretty average system - it was low resolution (320x240) and very jittery and unreliable.

Kinect 2.0 was the serious game changer and it had even more huge amounts of money throw at it … and a set of hardware that included a TimeOfFlight sensor that even to this day no one has been able to replicate at the price point the Kinect 2.0 hardware was sold for. ( basically the same price you buy an Orbbec for today ) except that Orbbec ISNT a TimeOfFlight based system.

As such Kinect 2.0 was a heavily subsidized product - with an SDK that was released grudgingly by Microsoft almost at the end of the product life - and then effectively abandoned by MS and the costs most likely written off as a loss.

No commercial player coming into the market place now is going to give that technology away for free.
Apple took what was effectively an open source platform and destroyed it to get at its technology
MS took most of gestureteks IP and then pretty much wrote it off as a loss at the end of Kinect’s life.
Carnegie Mellon took the openPose system - make it free for no commercial work - then placed a 25,000 per year fee on it for commercial work.


YES - Nuitrack is a per seat / per end user system
AND - we dont yet have a fully published pricing structure for the Orbbec Skeleton system


Yes TVico is the same hardware basically as the Persee - but with Nuitracks code running the engine.