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Intel bringing depth sensing 3D camera to devices next year

Intel plans to bring its unique “depth sensing” camera to a variety of new devices by the second half of 2014 with laptops and ultrabooks to first to benefit from the technology.

Intel claims that the 2D front cameras that currently grace most devices will soon turn into 3D tools that can sense emotion, track movement and be intelligent enough to track the reading ability of children.

“The webcam enhancements will help the computer understand a human better, bring new levels of interactivity to 3D games, and make webconferencing fun by blanking out the background and adding a green screen,” Anil Nanduri, director of perceptual products and solutions at Intel, told PC Advisor.

The camera will “bridge the gap between the real and virtual world” according to Nanduri and be integrated into laptops and ultrabooks by the second half of 2014. The technology will then “trickle down” to tablets and smartphones in the months following this.

In addition to the aforementioned features, the device will have the ability to identify items according to characteristics, contours and shape with this, according to Nanduri, likely to open the device up to the 3D printing industry.

"You are not going to look for a case [for a device] anymore, you'll just point that device, and the cameras will recognize what you have. It'll know the model number...and it'll print [the case] for you, or you go to the store, they will print it for you,” Nanduri told PC Advisor.

Finger-level recognition, included within the camera, is specifically designed for the kind of short-range interaction favoured by people using cameras on tablets, laptops and ultrabooks, thus differing from the Microsoft Kinect longer-range sensor.

The technology inside the device is already available to developers and will be sold to the public inside the Creative Senz3D webcam before it hits computers and tablets next year.