Microsoft focuses on 3D camera company
Make gestures at your XBox
Israel-based 3DV Systems is a venture capital-backed startup that has raised about $38m from investors. The company was founded in 1996 by two Israeli defence industry scientists who had worked on electro-optics technology for missiles. They developed and patented technology that could work out the depth relationships of objects in a digital camera's field of view, in real time with high resolution. This was embodied in a chipset and in the ZCam 3D camera product range, now available in web-cam format.
The DeepC chipset hardware computes the camera's distance from objects it 'sees' using a time-of-flight principle and its technology is described thus: "The Depth information is captured by emitting pulses of infra-red light to all objects in the scene and sensing the reflected light from the surface of each object. All objects in the scene are then arranged in layers according to the distance information sensed by the D pixels in the camera, providing the Depth information in real time as standard black and white video where the grey-level correlates to relative distance. Colour data is provided using a normal colour imaging sensor."
Real time translates to 60 frames per second and the depth resolution is accurate to 1-2cm. The company thinks its technology is appropriate for "PC-based gaming and for background replacement in web-conferencing." One aspect of it is that there is little use made of the host system's CPU.
3DV states that the ZCam: "provides home users [with] revolutionary gesture recognition capabilities in addition to real-time background replacement, enabling them to control video games and personal space through intuitive body gestures and immerse themselves with virtual reality."
The attraction for Microsoft, with its Xbox 360 games console and Surface gesture recognition system, is immediately obvious. XBox360 game players could control the action by moving their hands in front of the device. This would give Microsoft some kind of answer to Nintendo's Wii.
Microsoft said it: "does not comment on rumors or speculation." No-one was available to answer inquiries at 3DV as the employees are away from the office at a company event until Sunday. ®
Any gesture recognition discussion.....
always reminds me of Zaphod Beeblebrox and the vid control scene in HGTG. Douglas Adams looks at gesture recognition and shows us how far we still need to go.
When the hand talking, gesticulating contingent of our society is silenced, then we can look at gesture recogniton as a control mechanism. The Wii relies on it combination of IR and RF to make control changes that respond to the movements of the Wiimote that are part of the programming. Move the Wiimote in the correct sequence and this particular event happens. Following Zaphod's example would we need to remember to wave our hand sideways twice - to indicate that we want the volume control - and then wave up to increase and down to decrease? Useability, that dirty word, always comes from simplicity. When controls get too complex then we get frustrated using them. BMW iDrive anyone?
Like many of them this is a great idea, just keep in mind how many great new ideas were abandoned after the inital enthusiasm wore off.
The one with the Donald Norman book in the pocket, Ta.
When I think 'xbox camera'
...I think this: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/08/31/
"and for background replacement in web-conferencing"
If it means I can look like I'm dialing in from my aquarium - I'm sold!
"They developed and patented technology that could work out the depth relationships of objects in a digital camera's field of view, in real time with high resolution. This was embodied in a chipset and in the ZCam 3D camera product range, now available in web-cam format."
Ah, when I read this the first time I assumed that this included 3d triangulation like my project, but looking at other sources it looks like their product is purely time of flash and does not use triangulation as the depth sensing technique.
Still, the patents should be on hardware only since the software algorithms are pretty obvious.
The Xbox Live Vision is like the PS2 Eye Toy. Both are 2D. This camera can read depth as well, so is 3d..
Come on Mark keep up..