Neat OpenCV smoothing trick when Kineacking (Kinect Hacking) [w/ code]

I found a nice little trick to ease the work with the very noisy depth image the Kinect is giving out. The image is filled with these "blank" values that basically note where the data is unreadable. The secret is to use inpainting to cover these areas and get a cleaner image. And as always, no need to dig deep - OpenCV has it all included.

Start from a simple Kinect frames feed from here:

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
	bool die(false);

	Mat depthMat(Size(640,480),CV_16UC1);
	Mat depthf  (Size(640,480),CV_8UC1);
	Mat rgbMat(Size(640,480),CV_8UC3,Scalar(0));
	Mat ownMat(Size(640,480),CV_8UC3,Scalar(0));

        Freenect::Freenect freenect;
        MyFreenectDevice& device = freenect.createDevice<MyFreenectDevice>(0);


    while (!die) {
    	depthMat.convertTo(depthf, CV_8UC1, 255.0/2048.0);
		char k = cvWaitKey(5);
		if( k == 27 ){

	return 0;

Now let's stretch the signal a little bit and add the inpainting:

		//interpolation & inpainting
			Mat _tmp,_tmp1; //minimum observed value is ~440. so shift a bit
			Mat(depthMat - 400.0).convertTo(_tmp1,CV_64FC1);
			Point minLoc; double minval,maxval;
			minMaxLoc(_tmp1, &minval, &maxval, NULL, NULL);
			_tmp1.convertTo(depthf, CV_8UC1, 255.0/maxval);  //linear interpolation
                       //use a smaller version of the image
			Mat small_depthf; resize(depthf,small_depthf,Size(),0.2,0.2);
                        //inpaint only the "unknown" pixels
			cv::inpaint(small_depthf,(small_depthf == 255),_tmp1,5.0,INPAINT_TELEA);
			resize(_tmp1, _tmp, depthf.size());
			_tmp.copyTo(depthf, (depthf == 255));  //add the original signal back over the inpaint

Note that I'm using a small copy of the image, because inpainting is a heavy computation, and it works best on low frequencies. I copy back the original signal over the up-sized inpainted one to retain high frequencies.

It works pretty well!