Products that could make it common to control a computer, TV, or something else using eye gaze, gesture, voice, and even facial expression were launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. The technology promises to make computers and other devices easier to use, let devices do new things, and perhaps boost the prospects of companies reliant on PC sales. Industry figures suggest that interest in laptop and desktop computers is waning as consumers’ heads are turned by smartphones and tablets.
Intel led the charge, using its press briefing Monday to announce a new webcam-like device and supporting software intended to bring gesture, voice control, and facial expression recognition to PCs.
“This will be available as a low-cost peripheral this year,” said Kirk Skaugen, vice president for Intel’s PC client group. “Rest assured that Intel’s working to integrate this with all-in-ones and Ultrabooks, too.”
Intel also announced that, before the end of the year, it would release software that adds a voice-activated assistant to PCs, powered by technology from voice-recognition company Nuance.
Intel’s new gesture-sensing hardware device, made in partnership with the software company SoftKinetic and webcam maker Creative, has a combination of conventional and infrared cameras, and several microphones. The supporting software enables applications on a computer to track each of a person’s 10 fingers, recognize faces, and interpret words spoken in nine languages.