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January 10, 2012

CES highlights - Intel making ultrabooks with Touch, Gesture and Voice Control

Technology Review - Touch, voice control, and even gesture control—the latter popularized by Microsoft's Kinect gaming controller—will be coming to lightweight laptops dubbed "ultrabooks," said Mooly Eden, Intel's vice president for sales and marketing, at Intel's press conference this morning.

Touch, voice recognition, and novel hybrid tablet-laptop designs have all been developed and will be licensed to partners such as Asus, Acer, and HP, which make ultrabooks. Eden also showed a brief demonstration of an ultrabook able to recognize hand and arm gestures made in front of its screen, using software developed by Intel. A simple game involved using a slingshot, operated by extending an arm into the space in front of the ultrabook, making a grasping motion in thin air, then pulling back and releasing to fire the catapult. "We believe that we'll see gestures even with our ultrabook," said Eden. He didn't explain how the technology worked but the ultrabook appeared to have a normal camera, suggesting it was using machine vision software to process video from its webcam.

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association makes his predictions

CES this year will see regular PCs strive to become more simple themselves. Some 50 ultrabooks—very lightweight, thin laptops modeled on the MacBook Air—are expected to launch. They get their sleek looks in part thanks to designers channelling Apple, and also from throwing out USB and other ports, optical drives and large screens. Looking further ahead, PCs and tablets will also start to use voice and gesture recognition, said DuBruvac.

ee through: A prototype ultrabook called a Nikiski has a large, transparent touch pad that stretches the full width of the device.
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