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Intel's RealSense 3D Camera Brings Your Hands Into Game Worlds

BERLIN – Motion-controlled PC games are there if you know where to look, but you've probably never used your hands as an integral part of a level's geometry before. Intel's RealSense technology allows users to control sophisticated onscreen action with their hands and voices rather than simple gestures and commands.

At IFA, Intel showed off about a half-dozen motion-controlled games, all which made use of Intel's RealSense 3D camera technology. In many of these titles, players can see ghostly images of their hands onscreen and use them to control what happens in-game.

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In the first game we saw, Head of the Order, an Intel representative used his fingers to draw circles onscreen and cast a fireball spell at a nearby lever. Initially, he had a great deal of trouble drawing a recognizable circle, but once the software picked up his signals, he could hit levers and open doors from afar.

More interesting was the puzzle game Warrior Wave, reminiscent of the 1990s PC classic Lemmings. In this game, the Intel rep had to guide a group of hoplites across a chasm-filled map. Since there were no bridges in-between perilous platforms, he held out his fingers and let the hoplites walk across them. He could also crush obstacles and pick up wayward warriors with a great deal of precision.

Many of the RealSense games seemed lightweight and casual, but There Came an Echo from Iridium Studios looks anything but. This strategy game mixes a Tom Clancy-style thriller storyline with a customizable party controlled by voice commands. Games taking vocal cues are nothing new, but this one supposedly responds to natural language rather than predetermined keywords.

During the demo, the rep controlled the camera's zoom level as well as which enemies the characters targeted. The characters were sometimes unresponsive, but the final product may work better in a contained gaming room than a large conference center.

Intel anticipates that more than 60 applications will be available from a host of developers once RealSense launches. The technology does not yet have a hard release date, and no determined price, as it will be available in a variety of hardware, from laptops and tablets to standalone webcams.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.