Co.Design

A Look At The New "Kinect" For Smartphones

PrimeSense, makers of technology inside Microsoft’s Kinect, have revealed their latest 3-D sensor, small enough to fit in tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft’s Kinect is incredible technology, but only part of its potential is realized in the living room. That’s a shame. Because beyond gaming and entertainment, there are countless potential uses for its figure recognition and gesture controls in the rest of our world.

Now PrimeSense, the company behind Kinect’s mojo, has released new details on their upcoming sensor that will live in the market beyond Microsoft. It’s called Capri. And the biggest improvement is that the hardware has been reduced to 1/10th the size of PrimeSense’s old sensor. That means it’s small enough to fit in tablets, smartphones, and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine. The only sacrifice PrimeSense made for the size is that Kinect’s RGB camera is gone. So all Capri sees is black and white 3-D (no color).

Along with the announcement, PrimeSense debuted this concept video of Capri making its way into our lives (well, one man’s life in particular, as he leverages the power of sci-fi sensors to woo a lady--and no, we’re not joking, that’s the narrative arc). Its use cases are vast: Elevators can track passengers, a Roomba-like robot can map a room, and a car can alert drivers when their eyes have left the road for too long. Of course, there’s a liberal dose of other technologies at work here (the virtual closet in particular is a great idea, but it couldn’t work without an RGB camera), but even those moments aren’t too unrealistic, as smaller, cheaper hardware is easier for third parties to integrate into their own specific chipsets.

But while size is nice, we still don’t know just how much cheaper Capri will be than its predecessor. That point is just as important. Because for motion technologies like Capri and Leap Motion to change the world (and make their way into everything from smartphones to TVs), they must be cheap. They’ll get there, though, just like clocks, cameras, and accelerometers have before.

See more here.

[Hat tip: IEEE spectrum and Gizmodo]

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7 Comments

  • andreas buechel

    i would wish for the next generation input method being one without camera ... as for to capture one s own full body movement, not only hands ... plus there are certain privacy issues with walking around with an allways on camera. i have been formulating this camerafree mobile motion capture input idea at

    http://mayloveheal.wordpress.c...

  • En

    You know, Kinect is on another story. No need to introduce PrimeSense technology by using "Kinect" anymore.

  • Abe

    Did anyone else find it ironic that not only were they using ipads all over the place, but Mac Books too?

  • Marcus Goodyear

    The video caught me off guard, but I decided I liked what it was trying to do. Ultimately, it feels more effective than some of the other big picture technology visions we've seen lately from Microsoft and Google glass.

    Of course, I could do without the store ad inviting me to try on different outfits and make impulse purchases while window shopping...