3D tracking technology, similar to what is packed into Microsoft's Kinect sensor, will soon be available in a range of laptops, Intel has announced at their Developer Forum in San Francisco. Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo have all put their support behind Intel's motion tracking technology, meaning we will be seeing the camera arrays integrated into laptops in the first half of 2014.
Intel has built a tiny USB motion tracking camera module that can fit inside the bezel of a laptop's screen: a considerably better solution than the expensive external cameras required previously. The company showed off reference designs on the IDF stage, saying the units will also be integrated into all-in-one PCs starting in 2014.
Motion and gesture tracking has recently been the subject of a lot of innovation and development, first really kicking off after people found a way to purpose Microsoft's cheap Kinect peripheral for uses outside gaming. The Leap Motion accessory was also recently released in the hope that gesture tracking would take off without needing a camera setup, although despite high hopes for the device, reviews weren't overly positive.
It will be interesting to see how motion tracking cameras change the way we use laptops, especially with the abundance of inputs already available, including the keyboard, trackpad, touchscreen and microphone. If all the technology does is allow a simpler way to browse the Windows 8 Start screen, it may be chastized as a marketing gimmick, rather than a feature that actually enhances the usability of the device.
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