When Orbbec was founded back in 2013 their goal was to develop intelligent computer-driven 3D cameras capable of reacting to their environment, and their users specific needs using gesture controls. The result of their years of hard work is the Orbbec Persee which has recently made a splash on crowdfunding website Indiegogo, where it has more than doubled its funding goal in only a week. The versatile 3D camera-computer will work entirely on its own by simply being plugged into a TV, where the user can interact with the computer entirely through gesture controls using the powerful 3D camera.
The Orbbec Persee is basically a less expensive XBox Kinect on steroids, and the developers are committed to making sure that their technology is available for everyone to develop and improve. They say that they want to foster a culture of open source innovation where the developers and the creative coding community play an irreplaceable role in the evolution of gesture controls and the Persee hardware. To that end they have released an open source software development kit (SDK) on GitHub so anyone can download and develop software using the versatile and powerful smart 3D camera-computer.
“This could lead to a new golden age of open source 3D hacking. Orbbec puts 3D scanning and body tracking within the reach of designers, students, artists, and creative coders of all types. I can’t wait to use it in my own projects and to see what the community does with it,” said MIT Media Lab researcher and author of Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot, Greg Borenstein.
Orbbec believes that by releasing inexpensive, state-of-the-art 3D hardware that they will dramatically help to improve the development of 3D applications.Their ultimate goal of course is to make gesture controls the norm for computer interaction, and they believe that the first step is solving the problems with the current generation of technology that are holding it back. Unfortunately up until now there were not a lot of high-quality, affordable options that were universally available. Now that they have developed Persee and released the Astra SDK Orbbec hopes that the community of independent, open source developers will finally have the tools to change that.
“We believe the best way to inspire 3D innovation is to put the tools necessary to build great 3D applications into the hands of as many smart, inventive, creative people as possible. By releasing our SDK to GitHub and offering deep discounts on our devices through our Indiegogo campaign we are jumpstarting the development of next generation intelligent computing applications,” explained Orbbec co-founder and vice president of engineering Joshua Blake.
The release of the SDK comes hot on the heels of the still ongoing Persee 3D camera-computer Indiegogo campaign, as well as the release of their Astra line of 3D cameras. As of today the campaign has raised almost $100,000 and will run through October 31, 2015, giving plenty of backers the opportunity to get their own at massive savings. Currently backers can claim a $99 (retail $149) stand-alone 3D camera, or a complete Persee 3D camera-computer for $290 (retail #239). Additionally, Orbbec just announced that once 1,000 Persee devices are claimed, they will deliver a custom-designed Orbbec Persee Battery Pack (retail $50) to all Indiegogo supporters free of charge. The battery pack will offer unprecedented versatility, allowing the Persee to be attached to robots, drones or mounted in areas that cords won’t reach.
The Orbbec Astra SDK is available for multiple platforms, currently supporting Windows and OS X, not to mention the creative coding framework Processing. Orbbec also has plans to release support for the Linux and Android operating systems, not to mention openFrameworks, Unity 3D, and Cinder frameworks. You can download the SDK here, or directly from GitHubs.
Have you had an opportunity to use this new camera? Let us know your thoughts in the Orbbec Astra 3D Camera forum thread on 3DPB.com.
You can watch the Indiegogo campaign video here to learn more about what 3d camera-computing offers: