Playing With Intel’s 3D Camera with RealSense Technology

Intel kindly provided me with a Intel® RealSense™ Camera (R200) Developer Kit to muck around with. It was my job to work out what to do with it!

3D cameras have been around for a while, but Intel has continued to invest in this technology for several reasons. A RealSense camera is actually made up of three cameras acting together – a 1080p HD camera, an infrared camera, and an infrared laser projector.

The normal 1080p camera is for capturing the actual images you’re seeing, just like any other camera. As I understand it, the infrared camera picks up infrared light being broadcast by another part of the RealSense camera, in a mesh series of dots – which then measures the distances and surfaces between those dots to work out. A 3D mesh can be worked out based on this, which can then be used to fully render objects in 3D. Intel have some information that will give you an idea on this.

There’s a few free bits of software that can be downloaded for the camera I was provided, one of them being itSeez3D Scanner. By pointing the camera at someone (or something) and walking around them, you can create a 3D model of the whole person, or just their bust. Of course I had to have a 3D scan of myself:

Weird but very cool! Soon you’ll be able to send off your 3D scan, and get back a 3D printout of yourself.

This sort of technology leads to some pretty amazing and novel things. You can put your face in a game, such as NBA 2K16. Scanning in an object, and then sending it off or having a local 3D printer to make a copy of it has a lot of implications for the way we think about doing things.

The accuracy of these sort of cameras leads to Windows Hello which uses all these technologies to make sure it’s you looking at the camera of your PC to unlock it, rather than a 2D photo of yourself which can trick 2D cameras.

Another cool thing I found was the Chroma app which scans a person, and lets you replace the background with something else.

One idea would be to take a photo of your office, and if you’re actually at the beach, make it look like you’re at your desk :)

This particular camera didn’t support Windows Hello, otherwise I would have played with that too.

The Intel RealSense Camera should be turning up in more PC devices as well as tablets, so keep an eye on this space for a lot more awesome ways people come up with to use this technology.