Asus, PrimeSense to bring motion controls to PCs

Jan 03, 2011 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer
This undated photo made available by Asustek Computer Inc. and PrimeSense Ltd., shows WAVI Xtion. The company said Monday Jan. 3, 2011 that the WAVI Xtion will let users gesture to surf the Web, check social networks and control videos on their PC. (AP Photo/Asustek Computer Inc. and PrimeSense Ltd.)

(AP) -- If you've been wishing you could ditch your clunky computer mouse and control your PC with gestures - the way you can using Microsoft Corp.'s Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360 gaming console - computer maker Asus expects to have a solution for you this year.

Asustek Computer Inc. and PrimeSense Ltd., an Israeli company whose 3-D camera is a core part of Kinect, said Monday that they're working to let users gesture to surf the Web, check social networks and control videos on their PC or a TV connected to your PC.

Kinect uses a 3-D camera, depth sensors and voice-recognition software to recognize your face, voice and gestures as you move around and talk, without requiring you to hold a controller or wear a headset. As a result, you can control on-screen characters in video games simply by talking or moving your body.

If Kinect's success is any indication, Asus could be on to something. Microsoft released Kinect in November and said it sold 2.5 million of the sensors in the first 25 days it was available.

Asus and PrimeSense will show off the technology at the annual International in Las Vegas this week. The companies plan to enable motion controls on PCs in the second quarter of the year through an accessory called the WAVI Xtion, which combines an Asus with PrimeSense's 3-D technology.

Asus did not say how much WAVI Xtion will cost.

Asus is also using PrimeSense technology in a product for called Xtion PRO. To be released in February, Xtion PRO will let developers make applications that incorporate gesture controls.

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User comments : 14

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Mercury_01
4 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
I cant understand what could be easier than just using a mouse. Maybe this would come in handy for applications where a mouse is needed for just a small percentage of the time. I might like it for DJing, where I frequently go back and forth from mixer to turntables to the laptop, but then it would have to work in the dark.
HealingMindN
5 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
Artists like musicians would prefer a gesture interface rather than have to stop in the middle of jamming. Scientists, surgeons, and lab techs with their hands full would prefer a gesture interface. There are also disabled people who can only use eye gestures. Should I keep going?
jscroft
3 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2011
Manipulating virtual 3-d objects. And Minority Report!
gwrede
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2011
Within 5 years from now, this kind of motion control will be a quite popular accessory. It will come as default with better laptops, and be a usual accessory to table top computers, costing hardly more than a webcam today.

The technology is literally trivial: all you need is two cameras and a bit of software which doesn't take a rocket scientist to write. (Of course, there are many other ways to implement it, but they'd have to compete cost-wise with this default.)

Compared to 3D displays, this is a winner. There's obvious need, and it's cheap. The one thing slowing it is the need for common APIs, so that standard gestures present themselves in a standard way to, say, your Photoshop, game, or whatever you're using.

At the same time, the only party interested in 3D seems to be TV manufacturers. For example, try watching Avatar on a regular TV (I did). You'd, sort-of, never notice the lack of 3D hardware in your living room, since the movie works just fine anyway.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2011
Like the 3D glasses advertisements on the back of old comic books, current '3D TV' is nothing but a useless gimmick. Unfortunately the 'sky is falling unless you have this' marketing campaign excites the herd mentality. Too weird.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (2) Jan 04, 2011
I suppose the greatest thing about current '3D' TV is that with the '3D' glasses focusing your vision, it will no longer be necessary to even observe the other 'carbon based units' interfering with your entertainment. A simple upgrade to neural implants and all distractions in your pathetic 'real' life will be eliminated.
"Are you not entertained!" was not a question, it was a command; even in ancient Rome.
Ave imperator, nos morituri te salutamus.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2011
gwrede
Your blashphemous conduct has been digitized. Your name has been forwarded to the Guardians of Technology. You are now scheduled for recycling.
I come in Peace.
alq131
not rated yet Jan 04, 2011
CAD. Need i say more? have you seen the trackball/joystick/roller/slider contraptions used by mechanical engineers to manipulate 3d renderings? a gesture and voice based input to SolidWorks would be awesome.
LuckyBrandon
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2011
this is gonna be huge. by stock while you can boys and girls.
I_Dont_Have_A_Name
not rated yet Jan 05, 2011
Minority Report (A futuristic movie with Tom cruise that took place somewhere in mid 21st century) is starting to look like it might just be over the horizon after all :3
DamienS
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2011
This might of use in niche applications (as already mentioned) but as a general purpose, mainstream interface, it will be as useless as the speech interface that MS has been flogging since the '90s.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2011
This might of use in niche applications (as already mentioned) but as a general purpose, mainstream interface, it will be as useless as the speech interface that MS has been flogging since the '90s.

Absolutely correct, unless Jobs starts promoting it. Of course I may just bitter. after being an Mac based consultant, beta tester and professional user for 16 years I, finally sold my 2700 shares of Apple about 10 years for $17.50 a share(50% profit). When I looked a couple of days ago the price incease and splits would make those shares worth about $3.25 million.
Sorry I wandered off there. Gestured based PC control, like smaller and smaller screens plus (gag) fake 3D video are the Emperor's new clothes
Javinator
not rated yet Jan 05, 2011
With all the home networking available now, there are lots of people who use their TVs as computer monitors now and do their computing from their couch (media centre PCs and whatnot).

It'd be handy to be able to manipulate the computer with this kind of a system rather than using a mouse and keyboard. Not only is having to store a keyboard near your coffee table annoying, but having to pull it out onto your coffee table whenever you wanted to do something is annoying too. Not to mention the keyboard/mouse would likely be wireless so you'd have to worry about batteries...

I could see this being pretty convenient in that kind of a situation.
rgwalther
not rated yet Jan 05, 2011
Javinator...
I agree. I got rid of a TV years ago. Was a Mac computer consultant and digital show designer for P&G for 16 years. All animation, video and presentation programming and display was on high end MAC for display on windows PCs. I was in front of a computer screen when awake. Now five years after heart failure and two life saving but devasting surgeries, I am still planted in front of a 24" 16/9 monitor for all activites. In other words, gesturing 12+ hours a day would be physically impossible for me.
Gave up video games about 15 years ago. I will use the occasional gesture command, but I have been attached to a keyboard for 50+ years and a mouse since 1984. Not likely to do a lot of waving for typing. Too old to change. Direct thought control would be interesting, minus the Matrix jacks.
Ramble on...