Perceptual Computing: Ten Top Resources for Developers

Perceptual computing is one of the most exciting technologies to come our way in a long time, and it’s really just getting started. What is perceptual computing? Basically, it’s a whole new way to look at how we interact with our computers. It’s not just about the standard keyboard and mouse input controls anymore; it’s about touch, gesture, voice and speech recognition, and anything else enterprising developers can come up with.

With perceptual computing, really, the sky is the limit. With this innovation, developers can not only show off their coding skills, but also let their imaginations run wild. All sorts of ideas are completely possible; anything from software that works with autistic children to interpret facial gestures to a home management system that chills the wine and dims the lights for you on your way home. The software that we know and love could take on a whole new meaning and usage in our lives with the implementation of perceptual computing technology.  In this article, we’re going to take a look at ten different perceptual resources for developers that will help you jump right into this exciting field.

1.       Perceptual Computing SDK

Through Intel’s ongoing support of this emerging tech, developers have a wonderful opportunity to grow and shape developments in this field. A free Perceptual Computing SDK allows developers to jump right into perceptual computing development.  This SDK is absolutely free to download, and enables developers to be on the cutting edge of creation with their apps, integrating facial analysis, speech recognition, hand and finger tracking, and 2D/3D object tracking on next generation Ultrabooks™. Developers are encouraged to purchase the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera Developer Kit, a depth-sensor camera that is designed for use with the SDK for better object tracking.

2.       Perceptual Computing Manuals

Since this is a relatively new technology, user manuals are definitely appreciated! All of the perceptual computing manuals for the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 are included in this handy guide, including the Core Manual (overall SDK architecture, SDK functions, utility classes), Gesture Manual (close-range hand/finger tracking programming, functions and structures), Framework Manual (interfaces with the Unity* 3D engine, Processing* prototyping engine and open Frameworks), and Samples Guide (user guides for sample programs that are included in the SDK).

3.       Perceptual Computing Tutorials

No matter where you’re at skill-wise as a developer, there’s always room for learning more. With this hub of perceptual computing tutorials, you’ll be able to process all you need to make that app truly stand out. Tutorials include:

  • How to program for finger tracking and gesture recognition. Also how to handle gesture recognition events - PDF
  • How to capture and utilize the raw RGB and depth data from the Creative* Interactive Gesture Camera - PDF
  • How to use the face analysis APIs to achieve face tracking, landmark detection and attribute detection - PDF
  • How to set up the Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK for use with Unity* engine and how to write an application for it - PDF
  • How to set up the Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK for use with open Frameworks* applications - PDF

 4.       Getting Started with the SDK

While the temptation to download the SDK and jump right into developing the Next Big Thing is certainly hard to resist, it might be wise to peruse a few words about the SDK itself before getting too far into it (sort of like reading the Ikea furniture construction manual before you lose 21 screws you need to build the bookcase). The Intel Perceptual Computing SDK-Getting Started Guide has everything you need to, well, get started:  hardware and software requirements, camera set-up, software installation instructions, Visual Studio set up, even a sample SDK application to get those creative juices flowing.

5.       Showcase Apps

Need a bit of inspiration? If you’re still a little unsure about what you can create with perceptual computing technology, you’ll want to check out the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK Beta Showcase Applications, apps that were actually created using the SDK. From Kung Pow Kevin (a rhythm action game for gesture technology platforms) to Solar System (an augmented reality demo where the user appears to hold the entire universe within the palms of their hands), you’ll be able to use or view (via video) demos of these apps in action.

6.       Perceptual Computing Forums

Got a question you need answered? You’ll want to check out the Perceptual Computing Forums, a message board dedicated to developers and the challenges faced in developing apps using this new technology. Topics on the board right now include “How to get the dictation in command and control mode?”, “Problem while detecting more than one face Attributes”, “Details about markerless object tracking”, and “Gesture Detector problem with custom depth image data”.

7.       FAQ

Whatever question you might have about the Perceptual Computing SDK, you’re likely to find it answered in the Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 Beta FAQ. This is a comprehensive index of commonly asked questions that range from “How can I obtain the Creative* Interactive Gesture Camera Developer Kit (Kit)?” to “What will be the platform (software and hardware) requirements for commercially distributing an application that utilizes the Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 Gold (i.e. production) version with speech recognition?” to “Is there any special hardware required to use the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 Beta?”. 

8.       Visual Computing Source Articles

Need some help getting your visual computing skills up to par for use in perceptual computing programming apps? You’ll want to check out this hub of Visual Computing Articles, including Intel® GPA Tip: Windows* 8 Store Applications Workaround, Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK - How to Use the Face Detection Module, and Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK - Reference Manual - 3rd Party Framework and Game Engine Support - API Version 1.0. Don’t forget to look at the Visual Computing Videos  as well.

9.       Software Adrenaline Coverage

One of the best resources at Intel for the inside scoop on technology is Software Adrenaline, an online magazine that showcases new and innovative tech with case studies, interviews, and much more. They have an entire series of articles about perceptual computing, anything from “Natural and Intuitive Interaction: The Key to the Success of Perceptual Computing” to “Perceptual Computing, Intel and Natural Interaction”.

10.   Perceptual Computing Challenge

If you’re a developer looking for a task worthy of your jaw-dropping code skills, you’ll want to check out the Intel® Perceptual Computing Challenge, a just-launched contest to encourage fantastically innovative apps that take advantage of everything that perceptual computing has to offer. Using the (free!) Perceptual Computing SDK, developers will be able to show off their ideas, spark future imagination, and maybe even take a few prizes home from the $1 million dollars’ worth of cash and promotions that will be made available.

If you’re a developer, what ideas have you come up with that perceptual computing might work with? Give us your thoughts in the comments!



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