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Intel offers open source software for PCs with vision

May need spectacles

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Intel has released to the open source community software which can allow computers to see.

Sort of. Intel's Open Source Computer Vision Library (OpenCV) 2.1 enables computers with optical detection mechanisms to be programmed to recognise both 2D and 3D images. Intel has also included tools to perform facial gesture recognition.

If the technology is so hot, you have to wonder why Intel is giving it away. The answer's simple: the company wants developers to pick up on its work, extend it and create more possible opportunities to sell microprocessors.

Pie-in-the-sky applications trundled out to promote the software's release include identifying terrorists at airports and making 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL a reality. On that basis, we could add another fictional character to the list: 1984's Big Brother.

Fortunately, Intel's contribution still leaves researchers will plenty of room to work. Wilfred Pinfold, the director of microprocessor research technology at Intel Labs, told Semiconductor Business News that it would be ten years before computers can successfully read sign language - "maybe". ®

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