CamBoard Pico is German firm pmdtec’s next-generation gesture input reference device. We showed you before what it could potentially do to change the computer interface, and now there are a couple of new videos from the company showing how it’s working with middleware makers and what it can truly accomplish in practice in actual shipping products.
The gesture detection in these videos is impressive, and shows a solution that’s not only small enough to be incorporated into devices like notebooks, but also works at a sufficient distance that it’s actually usable, accurately, when you’re up close and working with said devices as you would normally.
Individual finger detection and the ability to use the CamBoard Pico tech to accomplish simple, practical things like switching between open apps. Unlike Kinect, it looks like you can use the CamBoard pico even from your standard typing position on a notebook computer, just by raising a finger while typing. That’s much, much more useful than gesture tech that requires a user to adjust themselves back from the screen, or even worse, stand up to interact with a computer, and much more likely to gain wide adoption, rather than acting as a sort of novelty.
The second demo video, which shows pmdtec working with Metrilus middleware, demonstrates more the general gesture sort of control we’ve come to expect from Kinect and similar technologies, but again, the distance and flexibility are impressive. I’m excited to see what the forthcoming Leap Motion controller can accomplish when it ships later this year (it seems to offer similar functionality and working distance), but pmdtec’s goals and sales strategy are very different.
It’s targeting original design manufacturers (ODMs), who in term will sell through to OEMs. That means that together with its middleware partners, pmdtec can sell these things directly to computer manufacturers, meaning when you buy a future Acer, Asus or Sony laptop, it’ll come with accurate gesture recognition tech onboard if this product catches on. With these new practical demonstrations of how that might be of use even with current operating systems and interfaces, that’s a pretty exciting prospect.