Intel RealSense Short-Range Camera For Computer Vision

In May of 2016, Intel introduced the SR300 camera module, a second-generation Intel RealSense short-range camera. Intel RealSense perceptual computing technology allows machines to see the world in 3D, much like their human counterparts do, thus taking the world of computing to a whole different level. In addition to depth and distance measuring, the SR300 can perform facial identification, expression detection, facial landmark recognition, 3D indoor mapping, and heart rate measuring.  Yeah, that’s right.  This camera can actually measure your pulse rate and display that information via devices such as a heads-up display monitor or virtual reality goggles!

The SR300  has a number of enhanced features over its predecessor, the F200, which was released a year prior. Two significant upgrades available only in the SR300 are Cursor Mode and Person Tracking.  Cursor Mode allows for precise, accurate touchless gesture control giving you the ability to simulate such actions as the clicking of a button on your mouse, the turning of a dial, or the swiping of your smartphone screen without actually making contact with the device. Remember Tom Cruise in Minority Report? That can be you, minus all of the flare!

Person Tracking with the SR300 provides you with the ability to analyze whole-body movements, skeletal joint positioning, gait, and stride. In addition, enhanced facial recognition capabilities allow you to compare a current face against a database of registered faces so you can identify the current face being analyzed.  Use cases for this type of technology can include anything from biometric authentication for identification and access control to being able to more accurately identify subjects during mass surveillance operations.

The primary components of the SR300 that differentiate it from other cameras on the market, as well as other touchless gesture technologies, are its three cameras. The SR300 has an RGB camera, an IR camera, and an IR projector.  In combination, these work to produce a high-quality 3D video stream at 60 fps VGA, or 30 fps at 1080p. Typically, the SR300 can detect movements from approximately 0.5 ft.-4.5ft, depending on the type of movement being made and the speed at which the movement is made. The SR300 Developer Kit is priced at $149.00 and can be purchased directly from Intel’s website, where you can also find the RealSense SDK.

By incorporating Intel RealSense with technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, we can make our projects more fun, more advanced, and easier to accomplish.  Just think of this – now you too can see the world through the eyes of a Terminator! Currently, we are just scratching the surface of what we are capable of doing with RealSense technology itself.  However, over the next five years we should really see an uptick in the quantity and complexity of RealSense projects being developed using the RS300 camera module.

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