Khronos to open 3D gesture and touch tech to all PCs with new API

While Microsoft is expected to roll out the Kinect SDK beta at Mix 2011 this week, the Khronos Group announced it has begun work on a free and open standard for new input technologies that will include 3D cameras just like Kinect.

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Khronos, the PC industry group best known for inventing OpenGL and WebGL, will create a platform agnostic, royalty-free standard for advanced input devices including everything from Kinect-like 3D cameras and motion sensors, to iPhone-like touchscreens and haptic devices.

The working group devoted to this standard is called StreamInput and will begin work on a cross-platform API this month. The goal is to have the API complete and ready for public use in 12 months.

The StreamInput API will support a general purpose framework for consistently handling traditional input devices such as keyboards, mice, track pads and joysticks as well as all of the new sensors and input mechanisms, and will offer multi-sensor synchronization for applications like augmented reality and gyroscope-and-touchscreen controlled gaming.

Participants in the StreamInput working group include Transgaming Inc., and SoftKinetic, the 3D NUI company which has already released a Kinect-compatible SDK.

"Input devices now range from simple keyboards, through 9-axis motion positional sensors, to depth ranging cameras with sophisticated image processing. A robust input API is essential to drive the market adoption of advanced sensors by enabling input fusion innovation under a common API that provides portability to application developers," said Neil Trevett, president of Khronos and vice president of Mobile Content at NVIDIA. "This initiative will also enable advanced applications such as augmented reality that need to process and synchronize multiple sensors for a truly seamless end-user experience."

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