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Intel crafts PCs that hear and see

Chip giant gives taste of future

Intel makes more than processors, and members of the Intel Labs research and development team are eager to show off the likes of vision-equipped computers to ultrasonic pens.

Gesture recognition is one area of the Labs' focus, says David Tennenhouse, vice president and director of research, speaking at the Intel Developer Forum this week.

Using a standard Intel Universal Serial Bus desktop camera and special software, Intel engineers communicated with their PC by hand and body motions.

In one demonstration, a person waved his arms and was mimicked by an on-screen avatar. In another - a crude game of Simon says - the PC dictated motions and recognised whether the person repeated them correctly.

Now, the technology is better suited to games and fun, says Cory Cox, capability manager for immersive toys and games.

The prototype software/camera combination just isn't sensitive enough for everyday use, and people would get too irritated trying to use it for regular PC chores, he says.

Also on display was a voice portal, created by Intel's China Research Lab. Dial into the auto attendant and you can access e-mail, stocks, and other information by voice command.

The system requires no training and is over 95 percent accurate in its native tongue - Chinese, says Shu-ling Garver, marketing manager. It also works in English.

Intel has no immediate plans to market a gesture recognition product or a voice portal.

But its research aids the company in another important way: both depend on powerful processors to do the job well, and Intel just happens to sell processors.


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