New Chip Adds Kinect-Like Control to More Gadgets
The new Capri chip could put the equivalent of a Kinect in a smartphone.
Remember when controlling a character in a video game by moving your body seemed amazing? Now get ready to use gestures to interact with more digital devices.
PrimeSense, the company whose technology powers Microsoft's motion-reading Xbox Kinect device, has released a new, smaller version of its 3D sensor, which promises to bring gesture control to TVs, tablets, even smartphones. The new sensor is small enough to be embedded into the devices, eliminating the need for a separate unit as with Kinect.
The newest sensor, called Capri, is one-tenth the size of the current-generation technology. And because the sensor will be less expensive, it could appear in more situations. PrimeSense will first demonstrate it to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show, which begins next week in Las Vegas.
The result could be people using hand gestures — instead of touch — to move from one screen to another on a smartphone or to interact with an onscreen display to shop. And doors could be unlocked through facial recognition.
The Capri relies on the same principles as the current sensor, which works by sensing depth, color and audio. The depth sensor shines a near-infrared light that's invisible to the human eye to get a grasp on what's in front of it, and image sensors capture the information to read gestures.
In addition to Kinect, products using PrimeSense sensors include the Bodymetrics Pod, which helps people find the best-fitting jeans for their body shape through a virtual fitting room, and Ayotle's Interactive Projector, which turns images projected on a wall into a touch display.