Imagine new ways to use computers and win $100,000 | Mobile Devices | Mobile Entertainment

Imagine new ways to use computers and win $100,000

Imagine new ways to use computers and win $100,000
Daniel Gumble

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Devices / May 22nd 2013 at 11:30AM

Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge is looking for new applications that use the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK.

Did you know that the QWERTY layout of keys on a keyboard dates back to 1874? It’s funny to think that this arrangement has survived so long, from the mechanical typewriter, through the era of computers driven by typed-in commands; during the dominance of mouse-and-windows computers; and even now in our mobile phones and tablets. When you type on the touch screen, you call up a QWERTY keyboard. Even the mouse has been with us for over twenty years now, a loyal companion to our desktop computers. Perhaps it’s time to re-imagine how we interact with computers?

We’ve already begun, of course. In recent years, we’ve gone from clicking things on screen to actually touching them. Voice recognition enables us to abstract the information away from the interface, so we can ask for information and get it without having to worry quite so much about how we express our request to the computer. But the real question is what comes next?

The Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge is offering support and investment to those developers that can imagine the future of human-computer interaction. The competition is looking for new applications that use the Intel Perceptual Computing SDK. It provides a framework for close-range hand and finger tracking, speech recognition, face analysis, and augmented reality. You can download the SDK to try it out and get a feel for its capabilities first.

To enter the challenge, all you need (for now) is a great idea. For the first phase, running until 17 June 2013, you submit your proposal for how you would use the SDK. The judges will then select 750 finalists, who will receive a free Creative Interactive Gesture Camera, and will then have seven weeks to develop a demonstration of the application. The final submission consists of the software itself, a YouTube video, image and application form.

In terms of the software, Intel is looking for submissions that are near to production ready, rather than early prototypes demonstrating a particular effect. There are four categories you can submit your app in, which might also spark some ideas for areas you could explore: productivity, creative user experience, open innovation, and perceptual gaming. It will be particularly interesting to see what new game mechanics emerge from perceptual computing. The Nintendo Wii has shown that there is interest in gesture-based gaming, and perceptual computing could take the ideas further by incorporating speech and face expression analysis.

Intel offers a hint that productivity apps don’t necessarily need to replace the mouse and keyboard, but instead should use perceptual computing to enhance a user’s ability to complete a task. In many cases, the keyboard and mouse will continue to be the best input mechanism. It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating more complex input mechanisms than we already have, such as typing by gestures, when the aim should be to create more natural new experiences.

The goal of the competition is to encourage the development of great new perceptual computing applications, so the prizes include not just cash (ranging from $5,000 to $100,000) but also marketing and development consultation valued at up to $50,000. There’s a cash bonus for finalists who submit early too.

To start creating your app and maybe winning some of the prize and marketing money, visit the Intel Perceptual Computing Challenge.

This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.

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