It’s an exciting time to be a developer, especially if you’re interested in perceptual computing. At Computex last week, Intel announced that Intel Capital will be creating a $100 million Intel Capital Experiences and Perceptual Computing Fund over the next two to three years in order to support developments in this rapidly moving field:
"Devices with human-like senses – the ability to see, hear and feel much like people do – has long been a subject of science fiction but is now within reach given recent innovations in compute power and camera technology," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. "This new fund will invest in start-ups and companies enabling these experiences, helping them with the business development support, global business network and technology expertise needed to scale for worldwide use."
Wait – what is perceptual computing?
Imagine controlling your computer merely by using your voice or a wave of your hand, rather than a mouse, a keyboard, or even a touchscreen. Perceptual computing is all about natural human interactions with machines in addition to those familiar control apparatuses many of us have literally grown up with: facial recognition, voice commands, gesture swiping, etc. Responsive computing that is individually tailored to an individual’s unique needs is really what perceptual computing is all about.
The Intel Capital Experiences and Perceptual Computing Fund will complement the existing Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund. Intel Capital has invested a significant portion of the $300-million Ultrabook Fund in innovative system component technologies in areas such as audio, touch, battery, display, sensor and wireless connectivity to make Intel-based computing devices thinner, lighter, more secure and responsive.
Intel and its industry partners have also made noteworthy progress in bringing the first perceptual computing technologies to the market for today's Ultrabook™ systems and PCs, including:
- An interactive gesture camera from Creative, the Senz3D which is already in the hands of developers and will be available to consumers in the third quarter of this year.
- Leading the development and enabling the integration of 3-D depth camera technology by working with multiple OEM partners to build the technology into various Intel-based devices with targeted availability for second half of 2014.
- The largest U.S. PC retailer, Best Buy, is assorting the Nuance Dragon Assistant on 10+ Intel® Core™ based notebooks, Ultrabooks™, and all-in-one PCs from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and Toshiba. With Dell announced earlier this year, there are now five OEMs shipping designs to consumers during the back-to-school selling cycle.
- Facial log-in software from Sensible Vision will ship preloaded from multiple OEMs. (source: Intel Newsroom)
Perceptual computing SDK
In order to fully support developers and perceptual computing development for interested coders, Intel has released the Intel Perceptual Computing Software Development Kit (SDK). To support this kit, Intel also made available the Creative* Interactive Gesture Camera. This innovative SDK gives developers the ability to fully integrate innovative facial and voice recognition, gesture controls, and alternative reality features into imaginative applications. It is absolutely free and can be downloaded at intel.com/software/perceptual.
Intel announced its perceptual computing initiative at its annual Intel Developer Forum in 2012. Since then, the company's Perceptual Computing Software Developer Kit (SDK) has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. With this SDK, developers can create programs that include facial analysis, voice recognition, and 2D/3D object tracking. These are all advanced, intuitive features that will only enhance user-to-machine collaboration. For example, instead of just building a standard online text translation, developers could use this SDK to build a real-time, voice activated translation service. Another idea might be giving users the ability to track items on the screen via a series of simple, intuitive gestures via gesture and facial recognition. The sky is the limit when it comes to what is currently being explored in this field.
In addition to injecting quite a bit of money into the ongoing support of perceptual computing development, Intel’s also supporting some friendly competition. In order to get some early adoption and insights into Perceptual Computing application experiences, Intel has created a number of Perceptual Computing focused programs and incentives such as the recent Ultimate Coder: Going Perceptual competition and the ongoing Intel® Perceptual Computing Challenge.
Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge
Phase 2 of the Perceptual Computing Challenge started May 6, 2013. Interested developers can visit perceptualchallenge.intel.com in order to sign up using an email address, Facebook, or Google+ account.
There are four separate categories that coders can choose from when submitting their app:
- Perceptual gaming: Perceptual computing integrated into gaming is a win-win. Push the technology envelope with innovative features that take game playing to the next level.
- Open innovation: It’s time to break the mold of traditional computing models. What can you do with the Perceptual Computing SDK that will accomplish this?
- Creative user experience: Create ways for users to interact with apps using any combination of perceptual computing usage modes (finger and hand tracking, speech recognition, facial analysis, 2D/3D object tracking, or single usage mode) in order to create an innovative user experience.
- Productivity: How can you use perceptual computing to enhance a user’s ability to complete a task?
Once you’ve selected a category, you can enter as many times as you’d like. Submit your idea by June 17th and if your idea is selected, than you’ll receive the Creative* Gesture Kit in the mail for the next step of the competition.
What will you do with perceptual computing?