Microsoft Research Turned a Smartphone Camera into a Cheap Kinect

Microsoft Microsoft's been awfully busy at this year's SIGGRAPH conference: embers of the company's research division have already illustrated how they can interpret speech based on the vibrations of a potato chip bag and turn shaky camera footage into an experience that feels like flying. Look at the list of projects Microsofties have been working on long enough, though, and something of a theme appears: These folks are really into capturing motion, depth and object deformation with the help of some slightly specialized hardware. Consider the work of researchers from Microsoft Research's Redmond and Cambridge outposts -- they figured out a way to turn a run-of-the-mill 2D camera like the one embedded in your phone or perched atop your monitor into an infrared camera usable for capturing depth data, sort of like a Kinect.

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