Intel’s RealSense computer vision tech will soon be going away, as the company is “winding down” the business, according to CRN. If you don’t remember the tech from January of this year, where Intel pitched it as a way to create facial recognition systems, you may remember it from some incredible tech demos (or possibly a few devices, if you were really paying attention).
Now that the tech is on its way out, perhaps it’s a good time to look back at some of the cool ways we’ve seen it shown off to remember the good times.
- CES 2013 — Intel talks about, and demos, what it calls “perceptual computing.” The company pitches its tech as a way to interact with your computer by moving and talking, and the next year...
- CES 2014 — Intel announces its RealSense 3D cameras, which it says will bring Kinect-like motion tracking to laptops.
- CES 2015 — Intel shows off a self-flying drone and a jacket that’s aware of the wearer’s surroundings, powered by RealSense.
- CES 2016 — We see a preview of a VR headset that uses RealSense to map the wearer’s real-life environment, and a drone that uses the tech for obstacle avoidance. Also, Intel puts Dieter into Fallout 4 using a RealSense scan of his face.
- August 2016 — Intel announces a RealSense module that’s designed to give robots the ability to “sense.” The company also introduces a wireless VR headset called Project Alloy that it says will blend real and virtual worlds with help from RealSense motion tracking.
- November 2016 — Intel lets The Verge try Project Alloy’s “merged reality” headset, which uses RealSense. At CES 2017 it demos a third generation of the headset, but “wind[s] down” the project later that year.
- CES 2021 — Intel announces RealSense Touchless Control Software, which it pitches as a way to make public kiosks controllable by gesturing in the air, instead of by touching a screen.
- Literally a week ago — Xiaomi unleashes its robot dog, which uses RealSense for depth sensing.
For the most part, the demos were just that — cool applications that didn’t usually end up in the hands of consumers. There were a few actual RealSense products over the years, but they rarely held up to what we saw at CES.
Intel told CRN that it’ll still be fulfilling its obligations to RealSense’s current customers, but said that the employees working on RealSense will be transitioning to other roles more focused on Intel’s core tech. Most people, though, will probably remember RealSense for the cool demos and the promise of easy, drop-in computer vision that didn’t quite seem to work out.
Correction: A previous version of this story implied that Project Alloy was announced in 2017, the same year it was canceled. It was actually announced in 2016. We regret the error.