SoftKinetic and Intel Pursue Era of Perceptual Computing

Belgium-based SoftKinetic built what it says is the world’s smallest 3D camera that recognizes gestures. The company has teamed with Intel to take the next step toward “perceptual computing,” which entails using more senses to interact with computers. The small 3D gesture-recognition camera, which is based on “time-of-flight” technology, will be used by Intel in its collection of perceptual computing technologies next year.

SoftKinetic’s 3D camera recognizes gestures using time-of-flight technology, in which “it maps a room in three dimensions by sending out signals into the space and measuring how long it takes them to bounce back,” explains VentureBeat. “SoftKinetic showed the tiny camera off in an ultrabook computer at the Computex trade show in Taiwan. The depth cameras are expected to debut in the second half of 2014.”

SoftKinetic has been developing gesture recognition hardware and software including 3D CMOS time-of-flight sensors, modules and cameras for eight years. The company recently integrated its 3D camera into a tablet.

“Intel will license technology from SoftKinetic, including the iisu middleware for close-range gesture tracking,” notes the article. “Intel will include the SoftKinetic technology in the Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit, which will make it easy for computer makers to integrate perceptual computing into their PCs, notebooks, desktops and other devices.”

The SDK enables voice recognition, gesture recognition and face tracking as close as six inches from the display screen.

“Perceptual computing will fundamentally change how people interact with their PCs in intuitive, natural and engaging ways,” suggests Intel. “With the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013, developers can create exciting new applications that take advantage of the SDK’s core capabilities: close-range hand and finger tracking, speech recognition, face analysis, and augmented reality.”

“Overall, we were left rather impressed with where SoftKinetic’s upcoming module is at today, so we look forward to take another pulse check at some point next year (maybe at CES?),” reports Engadget. “Until then, hopefully we’ll see even more developers jump on board Intel’s perceptual computing bandwagon.”