Intel depth camera to track eye movement, finger articulation

We learned in June that Intel is working on a depth camera for next-gen notebooks. The tech is already available to developers, and it will be sold to the public in Creative's Senz3D webcam before hitting ultrabooks in the second half of next year. Intel intends to bring the depth camera down to tablets and smartphones eventually, according to a Network World interview with Anil Nanduri, Director of Intel's Perceptual Products and Solutions group.

Nanduri revealed some interesting details about the camera, including its support for "finger-level articulation." Rather than emulating Microsoft's Kinect, which covers a broad area, Intel is focusing on short-range interaction. Part of the motivation seems to be the challenge associated with squeezing the depth sensor and optics to into slim ultrabook lids.

The associated algorithms and software are a big part of the picture, of course. Nanduri expects to be able to detect emotions by interpreting facial expressions. Eye tracking could be helpful in education by monitoring where students get hung up when reading class materials, he says. The camera could also be used as a scanner in conjunction with 3D printing.

Although we're familiar with depth sensors being as motion controllers for video games, Nanduri seems more interested in other applications. I'm curious to see what's available by the time the tech shows up in Broadwell ultrabooks.

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