Last week at GDC 2013, Lee Bamber of The Game Creators was interviewed by Ultrabook Community Manager Bob Duffy. Lee is part of the Ultimate Coder Challenge: Going Perceptual, and is building a next generation teleconferencing app that takes advantage of perceptual computing gesture, voice, and other input controls.
This is not the first Ultimate Coder Challenge that Lee has participated in. The first one, in September 2012, was a six week contest staged between six teams of developers with the goal of producing the “ultimate” Ultrabook app that could best display what this device could really do. Lee’s project in that competition was the Love Hearts app, created to showcase the Love Hearts brand of candy for Swizzels Matlow. Combing social messaging with gaming, the Love Hearts app offered a fun design that showcased the best that the Ultrabook has to offer: multi-touch, 3D graphics, instant notifications, and multi-core performance boost and sensors. Users of the app could play games, interact with fellow Love Hearts users, and send personalized messages to other users.
In this video interview at GDC, Lee talked about the difference between the first Ultimate Coder Challenge (the first contest ever of this kind to be offered from Intel), and the current one that focuses on perceptual computing and the Perceptual Computing SDK. In Lee’s words, this current challenge is “absolutely insane!” Everything in this challenge is different: the focus, many of the competitors and judges, and everyone seems to be fully invested into the spirit of the competition, which is building the ultimate in perceptual computing apps. At this point in the contest, we are almost to the finish line and all of the apps – including Lee’s – are getting ready for their final submission.
Lee also talked his experience working with the perceptual computing SDK and Creative* Interactive Gesture Camera, and again, in Lee’s words, it’s been “absolutely brilliant”. Lee’s been focused on playing around depth data from the camera and integrating that into his app, inventing his own way through this cutting edge technology.
The general idea of his teleconferencing app is this: it’s basically a perceptual web camera. The camera takes a shot of you, the user, and promptly turns you into a 3D avatar, putting you into a virtual meeting room with other people so you can meet together in real time. It’s definitely the next generation of teleconferencing software and has several implications not only for the business world, but for gaming, personal use, and even medical.
Seeing as this is all brand new technology, have there been any roadblocks? Of course; you always expect some obstacles when utilizing technology that’s pushing the envelope. Lee’s personal experience was with the voice recognition; he notes that in order to get great performance out of the SDK, don’t use dictation for single words, switch to command mode which works much more successfully.
When asked how Lee has liked working with Intel, Lee answers that the support has been incredible and he “wants for nothing”. He encourages his fellow competitors to keep going and asks judges to check out his app to see what they think.
Lee’s also one of the co-founders of the App Game Kit, by The Game Creators, a game creation suite of tools that enables developers to create one game and port it to as many different platforms as possible:
“AGK was developed out of our own need to create a one stop solution for making game apps for mobile devices. In the past TGC had developed games for one device and then wanted to port them to other platforms. The process of conversion was costly and repetitive. The team wanted to spend more time creating new games and not burdened with laborious conversion work.” – “About AGK”, App Game Kit
Perceptual computing technology gaining traction, especially with the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge and the Ultimate Coder Challenge: Going Perceptual. AGK co-founder Rick Vanner gives us his thoughts on what AGK could be used for in this exciting field:
“Looking forward, it would be useful to take the Intel Perceptual SDK and create easy to use Tier 1 commands. Then anyone who can code BASIC could code a Perceptual app (assuming they have the camera too!)”
Perceptual computing is an exciting field, and ongoing developer contests like the Ultimate Coder Challenge: Going Perceptual serve to give further exposure and generate excitement about this technology. You can follow all the latest developments at Ultimate Coder Challenge: Going Perceptual.