A team at Microsoft Research centre has developed a new technology that transforms a 2D smartphone camera in to a 3D infrared camera. This new camera sensor will then somewhat work like a Kinect to map the depth data and track a user’s hand gestures and face. With this camera sensor, it will be much cheaper and simpler for developers to work on 3D applications for smartphones.
This new depth camera has been developed by a team comprised of Sean Ryan Fanello, Cem Keskin, and Shahram Izadi of Microsoft Research, who will be presenting a paper based on this camera at the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
To modify the camera, the researchers removed the infrared filter in the camera to block the unwanted light signals in photos, and adding another filter to let only infrared light pass through it. They have also used a ring of several cheap near-infrared LEDs, all of which helped the camera function as an infrared camera.
The camera has been developed to map the depth data of human hands and faces only, and does not function with other objects and environments. As per the researchers, the camera can measure a person’s gestures at a speed of 220 frames per second.