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New Capri sensor: same 3D sense, smaller package

January 16, 2013

IEEE Spectrum has posted a review of the slim new Capri 3D sensor from PrimeSense, the same folks who make the larger sensor in the Microsoft Kinect.

The Capri has roughly the same capabilities as the previous sensor, but in a significantly smaller package.  It sees a volume about 57 degrees wide and 45 degrees high, from a depth of 0.8 to 3.5 meters away.  Within that volume, it generates a 640 x 480 pixel depth map.  As explained in PrimeSense’s own blog post, the design has not quite been finalized yet, but it’s roughly 1/10 the size of the previous sensor — a little larger than a stick of gum.

That’s still a bit too big to fit into the head of a small humanoid robot, but it would certainly it in one child-sized or larger.  Or, a smaller bot could perhaps place the Capri in its chest.  The one feature of the Kinect sensor missing from the new Capri is a color camera.  That’s unfortunate, but certainly not a show-stopper; color cameras are cheap and tiny these days, and if you mounted one right next to the Capri, the registration error would be small enough for most purposes.

Capri is expected to be available to OEMs in mid to late 2013.

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