Intel RealSense cameras go far beyond still photos at IDF

— 8:05 AM on August 19, 2015

IDF—During the opening keynote at the Intel Developer Forum yesterday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich demoed the company's RealSense camera technology (PDF) and talked about where it's going beyond the applications we've already seen. Intel wants to see RealSense used in games, 3D scanners, and robotics, as well.

Krzanich showed off an Android phone equipped with RealSense cameras based on Project Tango, built in partnership with Google. Rather than just using the cameras to add depth to photos, Intel's RealSense phone could be used for 3D scanning, indoor navigation, and virtual reality games. Krzanich says Intel will be sending RealSense kits to select Android developers by the end of the year.

RealSense is coming to more platforms than just Android and Windows. APIs for Mac OS X, Linux, and the Robot Operating System will be available from its Experimental Software site later this year. RealSense is making its way into game engines, as well: Unreal Engine 4, Unity 4, and Scratch are all integrating support for the technology. Plugins for UE4 and Scratch are already available on the Experimental Software site, and Unity support is coming. 

Razer's RealSense camera

Intel also demonstrated some third-party solutions using RealSense to capitalize on live streaming's popularity among gamers. Xsplit and Open Broadcaster Software will both use RealSense cameras to create background overlays without green screens when streaming. Xsplit support is expected by (you guessed it) the end of the year. On the hardware side, Razer is working on a USB RealSense camera peripheral of its own design, expected to ship early in 2016. 

Beyond gaming, Intel showed off other uses for RealSense. A "robot butler" from Savioke named Relay used Intel's cameras to deliver a beverage to a parched Krzanich on stage. Driving sim iRacing and simulator hardware company VRX collaborated to make a racing simulator that uses RealSense for head tracking. Krzanich showed off an updated version of Intel's "floating display" tech, first demonstrated at CES, which now includes haptic feedback for all your Minority Report-fueled dreams.

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