There's a shift happening with computing to evolve the interface. Intel calls it "perceptual computing," a movement to make controlling computers more natural using voice, facial recognition and hand gestures. Starting this year, Intel will bringing all three together to existing computers via its perceptual computing platform.
The point of perceptual computing is to make using computers more intuitive by interfacing with natural human features and senses. At least, that's what Intel is going for.
Intel is partnering with Nuance to bring advanced voice recognition to PCs with support for nine languages in 27 countries. Built-in features will include a voice assistance akin to Siri that'll allow users to post news and updates to Facebook and Twitter, search Wikipedia, and control video games.
A partnership with Creative will also see a $150 3D camera peripheral that'll sense close-range gestures from between six to 36 inches. We tried out a demo of the 3D camera at CES 2013 and were pleasantly happy to find it could track up to five skeletal fingers accurately in a game where you had to pick up virtual coins. We also saw a demo of the 3D camera extracting backgrounds in real-time, which could mean green screens will no longer be needed for video productions. Lastly, we played of demo of Valve's Portal 2, where we grabbed and moved a Companion Cube around as if our arm and hand was a Portal gun.
The third part of the perceptual computing jigsaw is facial recognition. Intel believes facial recognition is a valuable component to computer security. Through perceptual computing, Intel says users can create an "unbreakable" password using a combination of voice and facial recognition. The 3D facial recognition is reportedly so sophisticated, it can detect multiple muscular points on a person's face to prevent unauthorized access by using a photo or video.
The potential of perceptual computing is huge. It's the stuff we've seen in virtually every sci-fi movie in the last quarter century. With Intel's backing, the technologies will have greater development support and a higher adoption rate just because it'll eventually be built into every new computer.
Intel says the 3D camera will go on sale later this year, but developers can purchase one on its website. A free SDK to incorporate perceptual computing features is also available.
Will Intel's perceptual computing initiative take off? We're definitely curious to see where it goes.
Posted on location at CES 2013 in Las Vegas. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.