Let’s see. What can I say about IDF 2015 in San Francisco? I certainly enjoyed the forum, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I also enjoyed seeing some of the new technologies that Intel is coming out with. Sure, I’m part of Intel, and know a lot about some of the technologies that were just announced. But Intel is a big company (+100,000) that continually surprises me with regards to its technological vigor. I will wax poetic about this at some point in the future.
Let’s get back to the topic at hand: What did I like about IDF 2015? Mostly, it was the exhibits and booths. Last year was good, but this year was excellent. It was very nice to see how technologies that were introduced last year, sometimes in a prototype form, had taken shape to become real products. I really liked the Intel® RealSense™ / 3D printing IDF booths. The booths had the Maker in me absolutely swooning with the possibilities. (Anybody want to create a robotic pneumatic furniture duster with depth perception and gesture recognition?)
Last year, I recall talking to one of the engineers / developers about the Intel® RealSense™ camera. At that point, Intel® RealSense™ camera was a black not-ready-for-product metal rectangle incorporating a visible light camera coupled with an active IR camera/sensor. This year, Intel® RealSense™ camera has become “real” in that it is commercially available in slick plastic rectangles, as well as integrated into other products.
This year, I saw both the current marketed Intel® RealSense™ product and the just released short and long range cameras. I’m told it uses coded light technology (pretty neat in itself) that couples a passive visible light camera with an active IR camera/sensor. The visible light camera takes a traditional picture, while the active IR camera determines the distance to the various objects. From what I’m told, the newer short range Intel® RealSense™ camera has a gesture tracking range of between 0.2 m and 0.6 m. (That’s 6 inches to a little over 2 ft to us silly Americans.)
One Intel® RealSense™ product that particularly comes to mind was developed and is being sold by Razer*. It is a 3D virtual headset with a 1920 x 1080p HD resolution. They mounted a next generation Intel® RealSense™ camera on the front of it to create a 3d virtual world the wearer can interact with. Placing the goggles on my head, I was able to see my hands in a virtual world (640x480 for this demo), and manipulate various simple objects (balls and cubes) in real-time all in the type of typical medieval room we find in so many games. Now that was a trip. And though the system isn’t cheap, $200 to $300 for the Razer googles and development kit, plus the price point for the next generation Intel® RealSense™ camera, it is still affordable. I certainly know plenty of gamers who would shell out that amount in a heartbeat for an immersive 3D gaming experience. Can you imagine the goggles combined with a good set of noise canceling headphones immersing you in a 3D virtual environment that you can physically manipulate using your own hands? And I’m not talking waving your hands or a gaming stick. I’m talking about picking up small virtual objects, say a coin, with your fingers. (No, you can’t feel the coin. You’ll need something like an Intel® RealSense™ Glove.) And all this is affordable. If I had such a gaming environment, my wife would divorce me and take the kids.
NEXT: Intel® RealSense™ 3D Printing