Friday, May 27, 2016

Orbbec Shows New 3D Camera Technology in I-Zone

Orbbec Technology found its way through the rigorous committee selection process and into the I-Zone this year at Display Week. The Shenzhen, China, based company has 3D camera technology that Business Development Manager Agnes Zheng claims offers higher accuracy, lower power, and easier connectivity to more operating systems than the flagship Microsoft Connect II. Zheng has a masters in mechanical engineering specializing in optical measurement. She was part of the group that spun out of a university research project with its IR laser sensor technology that she claims can measure objects at 1 meter with accuracy levels at 1-3 mm in measurement of size and distance to the object.   

"The laser sensor we use has a narrow bandwidth laser light that does not get absorbed by dark surfaces. We designed it in-house and have it specially made for this product," Zheng said. They also added an improved bandwidth filter and improved algorithms, all contributing to the higher accuracy performance. 

The group has support not just for Windows,(it's Windows exclusively on the Connect II), but also Android and Unix platform development. It also will sell an OEM module for individual product design projects and integration into multiple devices including LCD- and OLED-based TVs. Power is another advantage over the popular MS Connect II, as the Orbbec 3D camera runs off a standard USB2 connection with 1.8W maximum draw, far lower than the MS 5.0 W requirement. 

The retail version of the product is $150 and requires no power adapter, putting the Orbbec at parity with Connect II when the price of the external power adapter is added on to the $99. 

Microsoft moved to a time of flight (ToF) model in the Connect II while Orbbec uses a unique dot pattern the company designed using the structured light approach. Zheng told us Orbbec has global patents on this technology. 

Meanwhile, back in the I-Zone, users had a blast using motion detection to control the Sony HD flatscreen, playing real-time games and showing off just how accurate 3D gesture recognition can be. -- Steve Sechrist

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