Intel to demo notebook PC with integrated Kinect-like sensor at IDF

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On Wednesday, Intel will show off a notebook with an integrated camera capable of interpreting gestures and understanding voice commands at its Intel Developer Forum, executives said.

The unnamed notebook is the next evolutionary step of the Senz3D camera (above) that Intel showed off a year ago at IDF, and which began shipping last week at the IFA conference in Berlin, Navin Shenoy, vice president of the PC Client Group and general manager of the Mobile Client Platform Division, said in an interview. Retailers including Best Buy have begun selling the camera, along with OEMs like Dell and Lenovo, which will bundle it with dedicated apps, he said.

Smartphones only recently began to “see” and “hear” with integrated cameras and microphones, while apps like Google Goggles and Siri interpreting and responding to user commands. In the console space, Microsoft’s Kinect has the same capabilities. Intel hopes, eventually, that PCs can do this as well. Intel launched the Intel Capital Experiences and Perceptual Computing Fund in June, dedicated to spending $100 million to the technology over the next two or three years, and licensed technology SoftKinetic’s iisu middleware as an additional driver.

The Creative Senz3D camera could follow the user’s gaze, interpret gestures, and even recognize the user, Intel executives said at the time. The integrated camera within the notebook Intel will present is somewhat simpler, recognizing gestures and speech. Until this year, speech recognition remained a relatively hidden part of the Windows operating system, and Microsoft's embrace of touch input was seen as the the first major addition to the Windows UI in some time.

While new those additional forms of input can be useful, “It’s a supplement,” Shenoy said, an additional mode of input beyond touch. “You need to find the right context to use it.”

It’s not clear whether Intel will provide tools to facilitate natural language processing or will take advantage of tools like Dragon Assistant, which has been bundled on between 10 or 15 OEM systems, Shenoy said. Personally, he said natural language can save several clicks. “If I say ‘send the German chocolate cake recipe,’ it knows to search Epicurious, pull the recipe, and send it,” he said.

Intel’s IDF continues Wednesday and Thursday, with Intel’s “Bay Trail” Atom processor expected to be explained in more detail. Newly-appointed chief executive Brian Krzanich and president Renee James opened the conference by announcing a new embedded line of chips, known as Quark, which will target wearables and other embedded applications.

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