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Intel's Depth Camera Will Eventually Land in Smartphones

By - Source: IDG News Service | B 20 comments

This tech is slated for Ultrabooks and laptops, and then eventually in smartphones and tablets.

Intel director of perceptual products and solutions Anil Nanduri claims that the company's upcoming depth-sensing 3D camera technology will bridge the gap between the real world and the virtual world. It will supposedly create a level of interaction with consumer devices that goes way beyond the mouse, keyboard and touchscreen interfaces.

"You'll add the ability to sense your excitement, emotion -- whether you are happy or smiling. The algorithms and technologies are there, but they are getting more refined, and as they get more robust, you'll see them," Nanduri told the IDG News Service.

For instance, eye tracking will be able to monitor children as they read, and determine if they became stuck on a word, how much they actually read, and if they need help with specific words. The camera sensor will also be able to recognize an object the user points at, know the model number and actual dimensions, and either create a 3D model for 3D printing at a store, or print it directly to a 3D printer.

Nanduri claims that the camera tech will help the computer understand humans better, bring new levels of interactivity to 3D games, and even make web-based conferencing interesting by blanking out the background and adding a green screen, thus allowing the user to place them in a different environment. Items can even be manipulated on-screen just as they are in the real world, only using virtual hands.

Nanduri claims that the camera can identify characteristics, contours and shapes of items in view. It also has the ability to sense distance, size, depth, color, contours and other parameters of structures, hence its ability to "scan" objects for 3D printing. He indicates that it's a step up from Kinect, that the combination of hardware and algorithms will make images more meaningful.

"Kinect was a good initial version of a depth camera more from a long range perspective. When Intel started looking at it, we were primarily looking at it primarily as more personal interaction, short range, which is probably a meter or meter-and-a-half range of interaction," Nanduri said.

Intel's depth camera tech will first arrive in standalone webcams, including the Senz3D which was jointly developed by Intel and Logitech. It will then appear in notebooks and Ultrabooks in the second half of 2014. Eventually, the camera tech will trickle down into tablets and smartphones, he said.

Currently, the company is trying to cram the tech into an Ultrabook form factor using a high resolution short-range camera that focuses on a small area and what he calls finger-level articulation. "You need to have a lot more resolution for that zone," he said. "To really scale it to volumes, you need to get to the right form factor from the optics perspective, you need to get to the right power levels and you need to have the right cost structure to help scale it into integration."

Nanduri believes that users of this camera tech will progressively forget all about the mouse and keyboard when interacting with their compatible devices. We'll find out soon enough.

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  • 8 Hide
    bigpinkdragon286 , September 2, 2013 5:34 AM
    When I read about the camera sensing which words a child gets stuck on, I couldn't help but think how they will also be watching which ads people are looking at.
  • -6 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , September 2, 2013 5:56 AM
    Shut up about the 3D printing. Spending thousands to make cheap plastic objects is completely ridiculous when you consider the fact that those same thousands could buy you a CNC milling machine. Why limit yourself to plastic when you can work with wood and metals just as easily? The marketers did a bang up job convincing the pseudo techies that 3D printing is the future. What a joke. Milling is superior in every practical way to 3D printing and the technology has be around for decades.
  • 1 Hide
    baron blunderbuss , September 2, 2013 6:37 AM
    not all people have the space for a metal/wood workshop in their apartment or house...noise...maintenance...danger for children/pets and so on and so on, use your head before commenting plz
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    mightymaxio , September 2, 2013 6:38 AM
    Quote:
    Shut up about the 3D printing. Spending thousands to make cheap plastic objects is completely ridiculous when you consider the fact that those same thousands could buy you a CNC milling machine. Why limit yourself to plastic when you can work with wood and metals just as easily? The marketers did a bang up job convincing the pseudo techies that 3D printing is the future. What a joke. Milling is superior in every practical way to 3D printing and the technology has be around for decades.


    Obviously you don't read anything before posting. Plastic 3D printing was new about 4-5 years ago at least, now you can print metals, wood, etc they have different plugins. Go get some reading glasses and a case of beer to chill your anger defending oldschool milling technology that is way slower than 3D printing! http://www.3dsystems.com/3d-printers/production/spro-125-direct-metal#.UiSUcpK21yI and http://www.wired.com/design/2012/11/3d-printer-wood-filament/
  • 0 Hide
    baron blunderbuss , September 2, 2013 6:39 AM
    not all people have the space for a metal/wood workshop in their apartment or house...noise...maintenance...danger for children/pets and so on and so on, use your head before commenting plz
  • -3 Hide
    JPNpower , September 2, 2013 6:55 AM
    Anything intel that isn't microprocessing is doomed to fail. Remember intel SSDs?
  • 0 Hide
    thdocta , September 2, 2013 7:15 AM
    Quote:
    Anything intel that isn't microprocessing is doomed to fail. Remember intel SSDs?


    Intel's SSD's did give the industry a much needed kick in the rear. So in a way it did succeed, but in taking the painfully slow improvements in technology and turning it into a performance, and later cost, race, which greatly benefited consumers and Intel, since SSD's could drive the much larger OEM market.
  • -1 Hide
    JPNpower , September 2, 2013 7:16 AM
    I guess so. you are right
  • 2 Hide
    danwat1234 , September 2, 2013 8:11 AM
    Hopefully when it comes to laptops it'll have 5MP or more so finally full HD webcams will be standard. Can you believe that some new laptops still just have 1.3MP webcams?
  • 1 Hide
    danwat1234 , September 2, 2013 8:12 AM
    Intel's G2 SSDs were awesome and I still use it today in my laptop. Can handle 100s of Terabytes of writes. It's not that fast but high endurance for MLC.
    I do wish Intel would bring out a consumer SSD that would be faster than Sandforce, Marvell or Indilinx.
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , September 2, 2013 8:20 AM
    "For instance, eye tracking will be able to monitor children as they read, and determine if they became stuck on a word, how much they actually read, and if they need help with specific words." Really? nah, noboby will use the tech in this

    "bring new levels of interactivity to 3D games", This is where you can actually make money.

    The article did not mention about spying... The dark and hidden application!
  • -1 Hide
    dicfeynman , September 2, 2013 9:06 AM
    and when i said iron man can convincingly beat superman at poker they were all laughing
  • -1 Hide
    daekar , September 2, 2013 9:44 AM
    Even the new metal 3D printing isn't the answer to everything. The big OEMs are using additive and subtractive manufacturing methods in complementary fashion, so that a part might start out 3D printed, then turned on a lathe for tight runouts or bearing seats, and then milled. However, the article's comment about "scan this with our camera and then print it out" isn't going to fly for long, the copyright/patent system will have its say and render it largely useless.

    Still, it's worth noting that I can order parts made of plastic, metal, sandstone, ceramic, gold, silver, all online and 3d printed on demand. The prices are still too high for anything very large, but it is going to prove a great alternative to expensive molding processes.
  • 3 Hide
    nitrium , September 2, 2013 3:35 PM
    Quote:
    Shut up about the 3D printing. Spending thousands to make cheap plastic objects is completely ridiculous when you consider the fact that those same thousands could buy you a CNC milling machine. Why limit yourself to plastic when you can work with wood and metals just as easily? The marketers did a bang up job convincing the pseudo techies that 3D printing is the future. What a joke. Milling is superior in every practical way to 3D printing and the technology has be around for decades.

    Your post proves you really have no clue whatsoever about cnc milling (or 3d-printing for that matter). You can't even cnc a simple object like a nut and bolt (for that you need a lathe), yet those can be trivially 3d-printed. Complex objects such as, for example, an Eiffel Tower model can not CNCed at all, but again can be 3d-printed in minutes. They are complementary technologies - one is NOT superior to the other - they have very different uses and limitations.

  • 0 Hide
    presna , September 2, 2013 7:42 PM
    Wait a second here, considering the limited screen size in smartphones wouldn't this camera be of little use?
    Seriously don't see the viability of this product on small screen devices, now if desktop computers and smart TVs were targeted that would make sense.

    "When I read about the camera sensing which words a child gets stuck on, I couldn't help but think how they will also be watching which ads people are looking at."
    @bigpink.... think executives at Google and MS might be salivating over this tech and the possibility of getting more ad-revenue...


  • 1 Hide
    x2ruff4u , September 3, 2013 11:03 AM
    Everyone please shutup and back to the article.
  • -1 Hide
    bmwman91 , September 20, 2013 9:46 AM
    We'll see how Intel's ideas pan out. For text entry, I just don't see a viable alternative to a keyboard...yet. WHEN someone thinks up a better way, it'll catch on like wildfire. Until then, the entire business space is going to want a keyboard of some sort (touchscreen or the real thing). As for gaming and such, I think that this opens up some neat possibilities. The "hardcore" gamer crowd and RTS folks won't go for it, but casual gamers and maybe even fans of stuff like Skyrim could have a lot of fun though.

    I'm not sure where the additive vs reductive forming process argument came from. Trying to argue that 3D printers are a useless gimmick is asinine though. I happen to HAVE a 3-axis mill, 36" lathe, various welders, etc in my garage and I can assure you that while they are still extremely useful, a 3D printer opens up new possibilities that are just not practical (or realizable) with traditional reductive processes like milling. I think that they are all complimentary in the end. 3D printing has simplified mold making for my DIY aluminum casting setup BIG TIME. Model the thing, scale it up by +3-6%, print, make a sand mold. I don't own a 3D printer, so I farm the jobs out to fab houses since I cannot yet justify the cost of the equipment currently available, mainly since it is all FDM type stuff which makes relatively weak parts (I am waiting for the patent on the SLS process to expire next year at which point there should be all sorts of more DIY-accessible stuff coming about). 3D prints also allow me to prototype stuff quickly and cheaply; stuff that I build on the lathe or mill, but that would cost too much time and material to try to iterate in metal.
  • -1 Hide
    bmwman91 , September 20, 2013 10:05 AM
    We'll see how Intel's ideas pan out. For text entry, I just don't see a viable alternative to a keyboard...yet. WHEN someone thinks up a better way, it'll catch on like wildfire. Until then, the entire business space is going to want a keyboard of some sort (touchscreen or the real thing). As for gaming and such, I think that this opens up some neat possibilities. The "hardcore" gamer crowd and RTS folks won't go for it, but casual gamers and maybe even fans of stuff like Skyrim could have a lot of fun though.

    I'm not sure where the additive vs reductive forming process argument came from. Trying to argue that 3D printers are a useless gimmick is asinine though. I happen to HAVE a 3-axis mill, 36" lathe, various welders, etc in my garage and I can assure you that while they are still extremely useful, a 3D printer opens up new possibilities that are just not practical (or realizable) with traditional reductive processes like milling. I think that they are all complimentary in the end. 3D printing has simplified mold making for my DIY aluminum casting setup BIG TIME. Model the thing, scale it up by +3-6%, print, make a sand mold. I don't own a 3D printer, so I farm the jobs out to fab houses since I cannot yet justify the cost of the equipment currently available, mainly since it is all FDM type stuff which makes relatively weak parts (I am waiting for the patent on the SLS process to expire next year at which point there should be all sorts of more DIY-accessible stuff coming about). 3D prints also allow me to prototype stuff quickly and cheaply; stuff that I build on the lathe or mill, but that would cost too much time and material to try to iterate in metal.
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , September 29, 2013 12:22 PM
    Quote:
    Anything intel that isn't microprocessing is doomed to fail. Remember intel SSDs?


    You mean the same SSDs that have some of the best reliability? And from what I have seen they are still thriving as they keep releasing new models.

    What about network interfaces? Intel stamped out 10Gbe and a board with a Intel NIC is better than one with a cheaper Realtek/Broadcom.

    Intel influences a lot. USB, TB, PCIe etc.

    I think Intel does fine considering they are still the largest semiconductor manufacture.
  • 0 Hide
    Duckhunt , October 6, 2013 9:48 AM
    It looks like he is holding some plastic reject that left off a milling machine. I should get one of the off cuts out of the rubbish bin and tell everyone it is a depth sensing camera. I will call my company B.S Tel.

    I hate to tell you this. If you want depth sensing, you need at least two cameras and most systems use 3. As usual Intel is over reaching again.