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‘Minority Report’ style interface close to reality with Intel’s 3D RealSense camera

Intel’s press conference at CES 2014 focussed on the way we interact with our computers, phones and tablets and making those interactions more intuitive. 

In a lively conference Intel Senior Vice President Mooly Eden compared the new technology with science fiction from “Asimov” and the film “Minority Report”.

“I believe we’re on the verge of a major revolution, a revolution that will change the way that we interact with computing forever”, he said, before presenting the RealSense camera – a slim and light 3D camera with an infrared sensor that can be cost-effectively embedded into tablets, laptops and all-in-one PCs.

A number of real-time demos showed that this is very much a piece of technology ready to be implemented today.

The first demo showed off the capture and share capability and showcased the camera’s depth recognition, which allows you to layer your video and ‘green-screen’ without the need of an actual green screen.

The effect worked but there was obvious cell-shading around the demonstrators head during a Skype call, indicating that some refinement of the technology is still required for perfect results.

A gesture navigation demo was more convincing, with fingers and gestures recognised quickly and easily. There were some impressive game and app demonstrations showing the technology worked very well indeed.

Facial and head recognition was also shown off, with Google Maps being navigated hands free – simply by moving your head left, right, up and down.

Mirroring the importance AMD placed on different computer user interfaces at last year’s Toronto conference, Intel believes voice, not touch, is key to our future interactions.

“Voice is more important than touch. Voice has a much brighter future. Touch is not intuitive, it’s not natural. You don’t touch when you’re talking to someone” stated Mooly Eden.

Intel has partnered with Nuance, makers of the Dragon voice-recognition software, to create a voice interface for the PC which is integrated with online services such as Hulu and Spotify as well as on-device content.

There are parallels to be drawn with the Xbox One’s Kinect that uses both gesture and voice commands; however the RealSense technology will be available in portable devices and is aimed at productivity and education as well as entertainment.

Asus, Lenovo and Dell have already signed up to include RealSense technology in their products.

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