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.