Archived - Can Your Webcam Do This? - Exploring the Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera (F200)

The Intel® RealSense™ SDK has been discontinued. No ongoing support or updates will be available.

1/26 update: added link to camera demo at end of blog
Here's a pair of screenshots of what this camera sees both in the dark (left) and in the light (right) taken from the day we filmed the video demo - light shot is washed out so you can't tell what our producer Jerry looks like. I didn't ask him if I could show his face. The panels correspond to the IR Depth Camera image in the upper left, the HD Color Camera in the upper right and the depth processed image in the lower center. Cool, huh?
As developers harness the possibilities of Intel® RealSense technology, there is plenty to explore. Along with the Intel® RealSense SDK, they are exposed to a new kind of "camera". The first cameras to go to market will be based on the Intel® RealSense 3D Camera (F200) developers can reserve from Intel.  This external Creative* camera is not for sale to the general public  - it is only available to developers, thus the reservation process to acquire one at through this site
The public will soon see the camera integrated into the All in one PCs, laptops, and 2-in-1 PCs and like these:
This "camera" was designed to provide a measure of human-like sensing and therefore has more than the one lens traditional cameras have. In actuality, the "camera" has 2 cameras, 2 microphones, and an emitter.  Five devices total to approximate 2 human senses. I will use the camera Intel and Creative* has made available to the developers to describe these devices' features below.

#1, The Color Camera

This fixed-focal length camera will support up to 1080p@30FPS (FHD) capture in either RGB or YUV4:2:2 color. This is the most "traditional" PC camera in the set. Its lens aspect ratio is 16:9 and has a built in IR cut filter. It appears to the applications that have not yet implemented Intel RealSense as the computer's webcam. Current applications like Skype*, Vine*, YouTube*, etc. - use this camera.  Intel RealSense enabled applications will use this camera as one part of its optical sense for color and detail. This camera has the widest field of view in the F200 design.

#2, The Depth Camera 

This fixed focal, 640x480 pixel VGA camera has a 4:3 aspect ratio, an IR Band Pass filter and is used in conjunction with the IR Laser projector to determine object depth and location.

#3, The IR Laser Projector 

The IR Laser Projector emits a structured pattern of Class 1 infrared light used to determine the dimensional characteristics of objects by the depth camera.

Finally, #4 & #5 - The Speech Microphone Array

The developer 3D camera includes a pair of microphones to accelerate development around the speech related features of Intel RealSense. Many laptops have included microphone arrays over the years to help applications like Skype* to reduce background noise. Placement of the array (2, sometimes more microphones) is important for speech recognition and Intel is working with computer makers to ensure speech recognition is considered when they place microphones in their computers.

What can this new camera do that your webcam can't do? There are so many things this sense of depth provides I could only scratch the surface. One of the coolest things I've seen it do is "seeing" in the dark. We've created a short video demonstration of that capability below. If you already have one, then you can just grab the sample app in the Intel RealSense SDK called, "Camera Viewer" and try it. Run the app, turn off the lights and see for yourself.

Update, here's the "Camera Sees in the Dark" Demo:



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arif a.'s picture

hi, Can you share 3D Cad as step file or detail drawing? I need this as my reference on my kiosk. 

samontab's picture

You've got some nice images of the projected IR pattern there ;)

I can't wait to see these cameras replacing the regular webcam on our notebooks :)

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