Forward Into the Future with Intel’s RealSense Camera

By Sharnita Sanders.

The development of Intel’s RealSense camera pushes us further in the future of technology. It was just last year that Intel announced the RealSense R200 3D. The world facing camera is among the first of its kind to provide such long peripheral sensing technology.

Intel says the R200 is the perfect camera for physical environment sensing. It was released for pre-order by Intel for $99 just last year. The RealSense R200 followed the previous version, the RealSense F200 and has already been incorporated into many tablets and other devices.  

In fact, Intel hopes to incorporate this technology into many computers. The idea is that the RealSense technology will help computers to “see” depth the way we human beings do. RealSense does this by using the 3D depth and 2D camera technology.

It is safe to say that RealSense technology has come a long way since its beta days. In fact, what used to be an unattractive and bulky attachment has evolved into a sleek bit of equipment that can be placed into any type of electronic equipment. Not only does it embed into any size device, but it has three separate forms.

The first is the front-facing camera. The front-facing camera has the ability to capture facial movements, finger and hand movements, and can even detect foregrounds and backgrounds. Then there’s the rear-facing camera. The rear-facing camera is able to scan or measure any room or object. Finally, it has a snapshot camera which allows the user to change the photo background after a photo has already been taken.

Aside from these three features, the camera has other highlights, one being the full VGA depth resolution. It also has 1080p RGB camera, as well as a range extending from 9.8 to 13.1 feet (3-4 meters).

Yet what really sets Intel’s RealSense Camera apart from its competition is the fact that it allows for manipulation of depth. The user is able to manipulate the angles and perspectives of the subject it is trying to capture. It also stuns users by being able to scan a body and create a 3D printable bust.

Toward the end of 2014 majority of computer brands, like Acer, Asus, Dell, and even HP, had already incorporated the RealSense camera into their devices. Yet many think that RealSense has far more potential than that.

It is possible that RealSense technology will spread beyond laptops and computers. As the age of autonomy begins to develop and shape, many cars, robots, and drones could be using the technology for the betterment of human lives. RealSense would allow machines a form of human-like sense of seeing and hearing.

In fact, back in 2015, at the CES 2015 keynote, Intel tested its RealSense technology on a drone. RealSense technology that had been placed into the drone allowed it to sense the people it was around and avoid them any time they started to run into it. When it was time for the drone to leave the room, it headed for the door, paused while the door opened, and left, all on its own.

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As the drone demonstration continued, the drones flew through an obstacle course without a controller. They relied on RealSense Cameras to move through the course and avoid the obstacles in their paths.

Yet aside from autonomous machinery and drones using RealSense to detect items in the path, to “see” things with the depth that humans do, there are other ways that RealSense could be digging its way deeper into our lives. For example, during the drone demonstration, one of Intel’s employees who was losing his sight claimed that RealSense technology helped him detect those around him. He was wearing a jacket that had been fashioned with RealSense which allowed him to detect those around him and react faster.

While Intel has mastered its own RealSense Camera technology that gives devices the ability to see the world in 3D depth, it is still on the hunt for more tech to expand its developments. In 2016, Intel acquired the company Movidius, a developer of low-powered computer chips. The acquisition of Movidius was not only a smart business move but also proved quite beneficial to Intel’s technological development. Movidius created the Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU) which has the ability to take on difficult tasks like head tracking and even gesture recognition.

With the combination of the VPU and Intel’s RealSense tech, autonomous machines would be able to see in 3D. Not only did Intel gain access to Movidius’ algorithms, but it was also able to enhance the vision technology it had already begun to develop. Movidius’ algorithms are expected to give devices the ability to not only navigate and process depth but also map out their surroundings and have natural interactions with things around them.

We are always furthering technology to make our lives better. As our lives become more and more complicated, advancements in technology give us one less thing to do. Instead of driving, it’s easier for the car to drive itself. And why use a key to open a door when you can use a facial recognition to unlock your house?

The use of RealSense in smartphones could give users the ability to capture photos in 3D. It would only be beneficial to the human race if drones, robots, and even cars can simply step out of our way if we are about to run into them.

RealSense cameras used for video gaming could boost virtual technology to the next level and soon things like gaming controllers will be obsolete as players would be able to use their bodies and their surroundings to become one with their gaming environment. However, maybe the question isn’t if we’re ready, but if we really need things like this. What can be said for sure, is that Intel’s RealSense camera is a major breakthrough in camera technology and it will surely shape the future of robotics and human lifestyle in the years to come.


Sources:

  1. http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/6/7505803/intel-realsense-technology-can-make-every-device-self-aware
  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/sc/intel-realsense-technology-to-change-computers-2014-9
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-18/intel-extends-realsense-technology-to-other-devices-platforms

Image Sources:

Featured Image: This image was originally posted to Flickr by Intel Free Press. The image has been licensed for fair use by the creator under the Creative Commons license – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). No changes were made.

Supporting Image: This image was originally posted to Flickr by Intel in Deutschland. The image has been licensed for fair use by the creator under the Creative Commons license – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). No changes were made.


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