LAS VEGAS--The company that developed the technology behind the Kinect for Xbox 360 says it sees on-board cameras and gesture control replacing touch on all consumer devices.
Israel's PrimeSense developed the sensor for the Kinect and says the potential for gesture control technology is huge--extending beyond the loungeroom into digital signage, medicine and other mobile devices.
"Everybody knows touch. What we want to do is bring [our technology] into all consumer devices," said Tal Dagan, PrimeSense's vice president of marketing. "Think of going back before touch. It's crazy. So we think this is the next phase."
The PrimeSense sensor features a HD camera in conjunction with a infra-red camera and is able to recognize 3D body movements as well as facial recognition.
Dagan said that gesture control was "natural" and a logical way to "improve the UI [user interface] and really how you interact with devices.
Dagan added that companies including Asus have licensed the technology for products releasing in 20121 and that there were more to come.
Despite helping popularize gesture control in your lounge room, Dagan says he doesn't see the TV replacing mobile devices for web use.
"I don't think [the TV] will become a giant iPad, it won't. If you want to read emails you'll read them on your iPad," Dagan said.
"It turns out that 85 percent of the people when they're watching TV they're actually doing other stuff. In many places they talk about a dual screen strategy where you control your TV with your iPad," he said.
Dagan added that the usage model for television had changed and that on-board cameras such as Kinect will be useful for enabling Skype and social media.
"Up until now the TV was a family device. Perhaps now that it becomes a personal device, people will say, "OK now I can use Skype" I can have my contacts. If my wife opens the TV she won't see my contacts," he said.
Kinect has been on the market for 12 months, and at CES 2012 Samsung unveiled a technology very similar to PrimeSense, but with a single camera instead of two. Dagan said legal action wasn't a consideration.
"We have the only product which is mass-market. We think we have a unique product and a unique advantage. I think there's dozens of companies trying to do it, which is good. Competition at this stage is good," he said.