Intel Signs Licensing Deal with SoftKinetic for iisu Middleware

During Computex in Taipei, SoftKinetic said that it has signed an agreement with Intel to license out its iisu middleware for close-range hand and finger tracking capabilities to the nation's top chip maker. This middleware will be included in Intel's Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit (SDK) which brings "new experiences" to Intel-based Ultrabooks, notebooks, AIO desktops and tablets.

"Under the new agreement, Intel-based platforms can now offer these capabilities and enable thousands of applications to be developed using the SDK," SoftKinetic said. "The depth capabilities of the SDK work with the CREATIVE Interactive Gesture Camera that has been enabled with the SDK and that uses SoftKinetic DepthSense 3D time-of-flight sensor technology."

SoftKinetic's issu middleware (short for The Interface is You) stems from more than ten years of research and development, and supports full body tracking as well as finger and hand tracking. It's also multiplatform, meaning developers can build once and deploy anywhere ranging from a set-top box to the latest desktop PC. It's compatible with most 3D depth-sensing cameras, and features a multi-layered architecture that adapts to CPU requirements.

According to a provided chart, the middleware offered for Intel's PC SDK supports hands, fingers, faces, voices, and 30 frames per second, but does not cover long-range features like full-body support, scene management and more than one user. Supported operating systems consist of Windows 7 and the newer Windows 8.

The Gold version of the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK has been available since March 2013, and enables developers to support a wide variety of consumer solutions that utilize gesture recognition, voice recognition and face tracking as close as 6 inches from the screen, the company said.

"We are excited to contribute our technology to the Intel Perceptual Computing Program, not only towards the developer community, but also to manufacturers of Intel platforms," said Michel Tombroff, CEO of SoftKinetic. "This expanded collaboration with Intel will accelerate the adoption and proliferation of intuitive, engaging and personalized experience to the consumers."

Belgium-based SoftKinetic was founded in July 2007 by a team of mathematicians, 3D imaging specialists, software engineers and game enthusiasts looking to revolutionize the way people interact with digital content and interfaces. The company's hardware and middleware was integrated into Intel's Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit back in September 2012.

The news follows a brief tease during Intel's Computex keynote, as the company revealed the new Creative Senz3D Peripheral Camera. It allows users to use voice commands and manipulate objects on the screen with short-range gestures, and is capable of filtering out all objects in the background. This new Kinect-style 3D depth camera is expected to become available in 3Q13, and integrated into Intel-based devices in the second half of 2014.

"It's like adding two eyes to my system," said Tom Kilroy, VP of marketing.