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Intel introduces new chips to help PCs see, hear, and feel

Mark Hachman | Jan. 7, 2014
Laptops with the integrated 3D camera will be available later this year from OEMs including Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, and NEC.

Microsoft and Intel forged a partnership around Lync and Skype, using the RealSense technology to strip out the background in a videoconference and replace it.  Similarly, a partnership with Microsoft used "air gestures" to pinch, zoom, and pan the screen--without touching. Within Google Earth, face tracking built into the camera allows a user to simply pan around by looking left and right.

Intel also announced an Intel-specific version of the Nuance Dragon Assistant digital assistant optimized both for the Intel Core and the Atom processors (read here). The Dragon Assistant connects with various online services, including Google and YouTube, to search, play back video, and access various applications. "For the first time, you will find yourself speaking more and more into the computer," Eden said.  

Eden and some of his partners also showed off a few Intel-branded games that included pinball and a hover jet simulator. The company also discussed a partnership with Scholastic to bring to life an augmented reality playset, with both real-world and virtual objects, such as virtual sheep climbing a real toy bridge. Dreamworks, Autodesk, and Tencent will also participate.

While the long list of demonstrations grew a bit dull by the time they were completed, they showed off the range of industry support for Intel's initiative. Intel clearly believes that the RealSense brand and camera could end up being a platform, enabling new experiences that weren't possible previously.

Does the PC need the kind of alternative interfaces Intel is pushing? Actually, yes. Will consumers adopt them? If they're integrated, undoubtedly. Just as applications like Skype grew on the foundation of webcams, so could a number of new applications grow on the shoulders of the RealSense brand. Time will tell.


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