Nothing creates suspense like a countdown clock, and for several days now, Orbbec 3D Technology, a Shenzen, China-based 3D technology company that also maintains operations in Seattle, Washington, has been literally counting down the seconds on its website’s home page, with the teaser “We have some exciting news coming soon…” Today, the company has let the cat out of the bag and announced the release of its two newest 3D cameras. The Astra Pro and Persee are being introduced as the newest advances in technology for makers, developers, and other 3D enthusiasts. Astra Pro is an upgraded, fancier version of the original Astra structured light 3D camera, and is advertised for its wide range of uses from home and office to manufacturing and robotics. Persee has the same qualities as the Astra Pro, but is also a computer, combining the application developer’s two most important tools into one piece of equipment.
Orbbec Astra Pro, a 3D camera with 720p high-definition color, is the latest offering from the company’s Orbbec Astra line of high-resolution, long-range 3D cameras, which are designed for use in a wide range of applications including gesture control, robotics and 3D scanning. The company designed Astra Pro to further improve on the attributes that set their existing cameras apart from others on the market. The new camera’s responsiveness, depth measurement, smooth gradients and precise contours, as well as its ability to filter out low-quality depth pixels, make it what Orbbec says is an excellent tool for 3D scanning and point cloud development. It will also have the ability to stream its data via USB 2.0.
Taking things a step further is the Orbbec Persee. Persee is the world’s first camera-computer, which is exactly what it sounds like – a camera with a fully functioning computer for the purpose of building 3D applications. Persee is an Astra Pro with the addition of a powerful ARM computer, and includes a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU, 600MHz GPU with OpenCL support, Wi-Fi and high-speed Ethernet, 2GB DDR3 RAM, and an embedded 16GB eMMC Flash.
“We believe 3D cameras are a foundational component of intelligent computing, and have been working for three years on bringing high-quality 3D cameras to everyone,” Josh Blake, Orbbec’s Vice President of Engineering, told 3DPrint.com. “This is why we have focused our efforts on creating our own 3D camera from the chip up. A key part of accomplishing our mission is lowering the barrier to entry. This means offering 3D cameras at a low cost, and enabling developers to use the cameras on any platform. With these new devices we’re taking a major step forward, improving upon the state-of-the-art for structured light sensor quality, resolution, accuracy, and latency. Our high-performance Astra 3D cameras are already being used by makers, entrepreneurs, and businesses for a range of use cases including home automation/assistance, research, and robotics. We also think 3D scanning and printing is a particularly interesting use case. The precision of our cameras is perfect for creating highly accurate 3D models which can be used in games, art projects, or 3D prints.”
Orbbec was founded two years ago by Blake along with CEO Yuanhao (Howard) Huang and Zhenzhong Xiao. Dedicated to the creation of intelligent technologies, their mission includes supporting and encouraging the community of developers and coders that use their products, in addition to making those products affordable and accessible. Their website includes the downloadable, multi-platform Orbbec SDK for designers.
“We believe that the future of computing is 3D and all consumer devices will include 3D cameras in the near future,” said Huang. “Achieving this vision requires superb 3D cameras that are affordably priced and universally available. It also requires a world-class hardware and development platform, which we are delivering with Orbbec Persee.”
To raise the funds to get the new cameras into mass production as quickly as possible, Orbbec has started an Indiegogo campaign that will run from today until October 30th. Supporters of the campaign will be first in line to purchase the new devices, and will receive an early bird discount: Astra Pro will be offered at an introductory price of $99, and Persee at $179. The company aims to be mass producing and shipping Astra Pro by the end of the year, and Persee by early 2016.
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