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The Guru

Review: Intel Realsense Developer Kit

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The Guru

As most of you know I'm a technology groupie and always wanting to be at the forefront of what is new out there. So when Microsoft implemented the 'Hello' technology in Windows 10 to allow you to log on via biometrics I wanted to be there and using that feature. The first released hardware which supports the system is the F200 camera (made by Creative) which is the hardware part of the 'Intel Realsense Developer Kit'.

At the time of writing the kit is available for $99 plus shipping ($25 international)  and as I'm in the UK there was an additional £20 fee for import duty. The kit was ordered on a Friday night and DHL sped it across the pond and it arrived on the following Thursday.

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The box contained the obvious packaging, plus a quick start leaflet which basically advised you to plug the 'Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera (F200)' into the PC and download the software from the Intel site.

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The camera housing contains various 'lenses' as follows:

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As well as a  flexible / tripod mount which allows the F200 to sit on top of a monitor or be affixed to a standard camera mount. The 1M USB3 cable slips out of the back of the mount:

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Now a little late on, but worth pointing out if you wish to buy one of these cameras there are hardware requirements, these are:

  • 4th generation (code named Haswell ) i3, i5, i7 or later Intel® Core™ processor
  • 150 MB free hard disk space, 4GB RAM
  • The Intel RealSense™ F200 Camera
  • PRQ Camera with firmware version 2.60.0
  • A free USB3 port for the Intel RealSense™ 3D Camera

IMPORTANT NOTE: To support the bandwidth needed by the camera, a USB3 interface is required.
This interface must be connected to a dedicated USB3 port within the client system (do not use a
hub).

So there you go you have been warned. However if you have the camera you have a piece of technology described as:

Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera F200 is the first integrated camera that sees more like we do, it can understand and respond to natural movement in three dimensions. It scans objects, measures depth, distance, dimensions, contours, and colours of objects. Its high-end technology tracks hands and fingers, recognizes speech and faces, and analyses the shape of lips, eyes, and cheeks, drawing conclusions from facial expressions.

Now with the excitement built nicely the 'fun' begins. The software needed to integrate it into Windows 10 is the 'Intel® RealSense™ Depth Camera Manager (DCM)' package which can be obtained here. At the time of writing the latest version is 1.4.27.32425 HF2, which evidently fixes integration issues with Windows 10.

Download and run the software, it will run automatically through all screens once triggered and will load various software components as well as updating the camera firmware to version 2.60.0

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Now if all goes well you'll see the following components in the device manager:

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If you only have:

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Then you need to unplug the F200, remove all the drivers (via device manager) and use the control panel Add/Remove Programs to remove the 'Intel® RealSense™ Depth Camera Manager (DCM)' application. If you do not have the Virtual Driver in place you will end up with a blank 'video screen' in the Hello wizard in Windows 10.

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So once the camera appears to be present and installed you can then navigate to Settings / Accounts / Sign-in options and if all is well you'll now have gained the option of Windows Hello. Select that option and you will then be taken to the 'Welcome to Windows Hello' screen. Hit 'Get Started' and you'll be prompted to input your PIN for security, if you do not have one set you will be prompted to add one. If you are revisiting the option you can use 'Hello' as a security method - as you can see here:

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From there you hold your position and keep on looking at the camera until it completes the initial scan (and yes it was a hot day and I'd taken the t-shirt off so the image is blurred for all of our sakes):

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As I had issues getting the driver sorted out on my main PC I looked for an alternative test bed to use, and that turned out to be the Surface Pro 2 (with the inbuilt web cam disabled). The F200 was sat on top of the screen and it all configured instantly:

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Recognition was nigh on instant:

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Now bear in mind that the Surface Pro 2 was sat on my desk immediately in front of my twin 24" monitors, so about 75cm in front of my face.

As I now knew the F200 was working it was removed from the SP2 and plugged into the PC (using a USB3 extension cable) and the camera sat on top on the monitor. The only snag was that the camera was too far away to recognise a face was in range, to get it working I had to bring the monitor forwards a good 8 inches! This was not tenable.

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So I got out my flexible camera mount and used that to mount it on the desk:

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As you can see that worked for configuring the system (Hello set-up image shown above), and the system was installed on the PC and it was awake and watching. The camera was moved back into position on the monitor for this shot to see if I could get it to recognise me as I moved the monitor to different 'depths' on the desk - alas without success.

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So I'm now back to the camera on the tripod:

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This is not ideal positioning for me as the Surface Pro 2 usually sits in that area but as the camera works when positioned in that space I'll have to live with it.

From here experimentation continues.

Initial recognition was instant on the SP2 but on the PC it was initially getting it right around 70% of the time as facial positioning seemed to be critical. Since rebooting the PC this morning recognition has not worked at all, and going into the Hello wizard the video scanner shows:

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So it has lost the colour scan component. Annoyingly enough if Skype is loaded up that shows full colour video with no problems.

The microphone in the F200 is superb and I can use Hey Cortana on the PC some distance away from the machine which is pretty awesome!

Now I'm hoping that there will be more fixes to both Windows 10 (after launch) and that Intel will continue to update the Intel RealSense Depth Camera Manager (DCM) and fix glitches from their side. To that end the driver issues need resolving and IMHO they need to add a zoom facility to the wizard to aid in facial location fixing.


However when it is working it is a positive joy to use for logging onto the PC.

Edited by The Guru

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The Guru

Well I've spent the day today looking to resolve the grey image issue, with no success at all :(

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fowljr

No need to answer the question in the other thread on how you fixed the initial issues mate! :-)

 

Looking good on the review mate. Any luck with the further issues yet?

 

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The Guru

Well still having the grey image but it decided to be nice tonight and logged me in. Go figure. Definitely needs stabilising though!

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Boz

Nice review Daron, I look forward to see what it can really do! :)

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The Guru

Aye it can / will be cool if Intel get decent drivers out there which work. A lot of us complaining on the Intel site over the stability of the kit!

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Guest Tushar

Great review :)

Can you please specify which usb3 extension cable have you used ? I have some connectivity issues

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