Intel readying to take on Kinect with 3D depth cameras

Aug 28, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog

(Phys.org) —Anil Nanduri, director of perceptual products and solutions at Intel has revealed to IDG News that the company is hard at work developing camera systems that will not only replicate what users have come to expect from products like Microsoft Kinect, but will surpass them in ways that until now have only been seen in science fiction movies. He says new 3D camera systems will be geared towards people and objects that are much closer, and because of that will be able to recognize much more detailed characteristics of objects they see.

One example, Nanduri mentions is the ability to track as someone reads a page. A camera would be mounted on a computer, for example, or and operate while someone—such as a child—reads, which could be useful in helping them learn to read. Perhaps more eerie would be the ability to match while a person is looking at their computer with a database of known expressions, allowing the device to recognize mood. Mood recognition could of course be handy in helping people communicate better online, or more insidiously, by marketers looking to take advantage of particular yearnings. Less ominous, Nanduri says, would be software to monitor mood while people watch movies, engage with immersive video games or interact with other to help suggest options in the future. He also said that the devices being developed by Intel will provide far more 3D data than current cameras systems which means they could also be used to create for use in 3D printing.

Intel doesn't have such a camera ready just yet, but Nanduri says some stand-alone models should be ready over the next few quarters and then be embedded in other devices shortly thereafter. Thus, unlike Microsoft with its Kinect device, Intel is clearly looking to create futuristic cameras for general use in virtually any and all devices, hopefully making them as ubiquitous as webcams.

To reach that goal, it appears as though Intel is planning to team up with already established peripheral makers—representatives from Intel have already announced partnerships with other companies such as the soon to be released Senz3D external webcam that was jointly developed with Logitech.

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