The days of having to touch your screen or talk to Siri in order to control your smartphone could soon be over. Israeli startup Extreme Reality has published a software developer kit (SDK) that will allow developers to turn any smartphone camera into a Kinect-like motion sensor, allowing users to play games with body movements or track workouts in real time.
Showcased at the Consumer Electronics Shows (CES) in Las Vegas last week, the technology is currently being tested by games developers X-Tech and Kokonut Studio to enable motion control in their games while the Technology Research Center at Finland’s Turku University is using the in-expensive solution to allow it develop exercise regimes for the elderly. The company, which is based in Tel Aviv and has raised $18 million to date including investment from Texas Instruments, believes there are potential applications in education, brand promotion and academic research.
"For the very first time everyone has the ability to easily access motion technology and reap the benefits of it in their domain," the company says on its website. Extreme Reality claims to be the first to offer a software-based solution for motion detection and that it is the only company to provide "full-body, software-based, motion analysis and control." As well as smartphones, the system works with any integrated camera including those on tablets and PCs.
To date motion detection systems have relied on using standalone and expensive 3D-cameras with Microsoft’s Kinect the most famous example. It was launched back in 2010 and quickly became the fastest-selling consumer electronics device ever by shipping 8 million units in just 60 days. However the popularity of the Kinect has waned and Microsoft was forced to reverse its decision to mandate that a Kinect camera had to be connected to its Xbox One console at all times.
Extreme Reality is aiming to quickly bring motion sensing technology to smartphones and other devices, but it is not the only company offering a solution. At CES 2016 Intel announced the availability of its own smartphone featuring a version of its RealSense camera technology.
Intel’s $400 developer device features its RealSense Camera ZR300 which is able to recognize 3D objects and gestures and works with the smartphone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and a lens to offer a wide field of view for broad motion capturing. It works with Google’s Project Tango 3D-mapping effort and will be aimed at developers looking to develop motion capture apps for smartphones of the future