Intel's gesture control promises hands-free life

Written by PTI | Taipei | Updated: Jun 5 2014, 18:49pm hrs
Intel CorpVisitors look at tablets at the Intel booth during the 2014 Computex exhibition in Taipei. (Reuters)
US computer chip giant Intel said its gesture-controlled technology could soon become part of everyday life as it showed its vision of a no-touch lifestyle in Taiwan today.

Its stand at Computex, Asia's largest technology trade show, recreates a living space centred around a kitchen, illustrating how sticky fingers on screens and recipe books could be a thing of the past.

An actress with messy hands from cooking clicked through icons and apps and scrolled through cookery pages on a large monitor using just hand motions from around 12 inches (30 centimetres) away.

"This is a good example of the home usage of gesture," Intel's Jon Marshall said, adding the technology harnesses voice recognition as well.

"We're trying to get a hands-free environment. Most people when they speak are animated -- it's a natural way to communicate. We're trying to take that to the next level in computing.

"It's going to mean more cameras, microphones -- the platform you're working with is going to natively recognise what you're doing."

The advances are the latest developments in Intel's sense technology which uses a camera with both 2-D and 3-D capabilities embedded into devices, enabling them to "see" depth and recognise facial expressions and movements.

Other companies that have rolled out gesture-control devices include Microsoft, which developed the Kinect accessory for its Xbox video game consoles which can recognise users, respond to spoken commands and detect a person's pulse.

Marshall, who is a senior technical marketing engineer at Intel, said the firm's gesture-controlled technology should be available on a range of devices by the end of the year.

Visitors at the show also tried their hand at controlling an old-fashioned fairground-style toy grabber game which uses the same hands-free technology, operating a metal claw through hand gestures detected by a camera.

As they closed their own hands into a claw shape, the metal grabber mimicked the motion.