Intel to ship $99 3D RealSense camera that will also support Android

Intel's new R200 RealSense 3D camera will work with PCs and tablets

Intel is adding Android OS support to its latest RealSense R200 webcam, which will sell for US$99.

The RealSense R200 camera follows Intel's first RealSense F200 camera, which supported Windows 8.1 and 10. The new 3D camera is already being built into some upcoming tablets and laptops, but is now being made available as an external webcam.

Users can order the camera on Intel's Web site, though it's unclear when it will ship.  The company didn't respond to questions about availability.

The multidimensional camera will work with tablets and PCs running on Intel Core (Haswell and beyond), Core M and Atom (Cherry Trail) chips. It will plug directly into full-sized USB 3.0 ports, and work with USB Type-C or micro-USB 3.0 ports through a separate connector cable.

The camera can measure distances between objects and recognize items by identifying shapes and contours. Like Microsoft's Kinect, the camera can also recognize motion and gestures.

Intel has a grand plan to bring augmented reality to tablets and PCs with the camera, much like Google's Project Tango. Intel wants the 3D camera to work with sensors so device screens can provide information about a user's location and objects in view. Intel also wants its 3D cameras to recognize moods by analyzing facial expressions, and map out surroundings for use in games and virtual worlds.

Intel is hoping developers will play with the camera and figure out new uses for it. The RealSense software development kit works only with Windows for now, but Android support is coming, according to Intel's website. Support may come for Google's Project Tango SDK, which is already compatible with a different RealSense camera in an Intel smartphone that will ship this year.

The RealSense R200 camera is 9.5 millimeters thick and 102 millimeters long, significantly smaller than its predecessor. It will be available in the U.S., Canada, China, Japan and European Union.

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