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Body Motions to Control a PC!

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 held at Las Vegas, there were three companies who showcased their depth-finding cameras which enable users to control a computer by their body gestures and motions.

The same technology has been used by Microsoft's Kinect as an add-on to the XBox 360 console gaming experience, but now, it is being extended for usage in other areas as well. The cameras were displayed and demonstrated at the CES 2012, but they are not ready for the commercial release as of now. The purpose of the demonstration was to attract more software developers and vendors to work on this technology to embed it in their products. This would enable these to be produced commercially and enter the market.

This latest show of gesture and body motion tracking as input to the PC is another contender for the keyboard and mouse monopoly. This monopoly has already been challenged by touch-based devices like tablet PCs and touch phones.

The PrimeSense booth at the CES demonstrated this technology by enabling visitors to browse through a digital video library and play its contents by moving their hands only. The depth sensing camera now comes separately under the name of 'Asus Xtion'.

PrimeSense (Kinect Clone)

Image courtesy: flickr

How the camera works
The camera measures depth or the distance at which the user is standing away from the camera. The way this is done is to send out rays of light and measuring its deformation as they hit the object. Another way to do this is to send out light rays and measure how long they take to return. This way, with the speed of light known, the distance to the object can be easily measured.

A bit of a bummer is that the range is only 12 feet. Beyond that, your gestures won't be picked up.

Microsoft will start shipping its Kinect for Windows from 1st Feb, 2012. It will be priced at $249. The Asus Xtion costs $149 and SoftKinectics, a Belgian company will be selling its camera for $499 around February this year.

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