Say what you like about Microsoft Kinect; we’ve wanted to breeze through T3.com with a swish of the hand since we saw Tom Cruise controlling his computer that way in Minority Report way back in 2002.
Happily, it seems Microsoft feels the same way, announcing yesterday that it has just purchased Silicon Valley-based gesture recognition company Canesta, which makes chips that can allow computers with attached cameras to perceive depth and see in three dimensions. The goal is a more grown-up version of Microsoft’s Kinect, which could be used to control your PC without the need for any additional peripherals.
Far from limited to computers, however, Canesta’s mission is to put intelligent cameras into all kinds of everyday appliances including cars, televisions and mobiles.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer commented recently that he is “excited to be way out in front and want to push the pedal on [gesture control]”. No word on when we expect to ditch the mouse and keyboard on our home computers, but we’ll be keeping our ear close to the ground on this one.
Facebook will be announcing new “mobile” focused features on Wednesday, the company has confirmed, sending out invites to a “Mobile event at Facebook HQ” for Wednesday 3 November.
The invite features the company’s friends icon with two paper cups on strings coming in from either side suggesting that they are talking.
Although the company hasn’t officially confirmed what it will be announcing at the event next week, there are plenty of guesses already going around the internet as to what they could be announcing.
While some believe that it could just the recently announced desktop features coming to mobile, others are more optimistic about what the social networking company could be about to announce. Will it be a dedicated version for iPad, will it be the Facebook phone (although that’s not due till February), maybe a live chat service, perhaps a video calling tie-up with Apple’s FaceTime (Facebook – book + Time = FaceTime), or something completely different like a new filesharing element.
The announcement comes as Facebook has just confirmed that it has bought Drop.io, a file sharing service similar to Dropbox.
“Today, we’re proud to announce that we’ve struck a deal with Facebook. What this means is that Facebook has bought most of drop.io’s technology and assets, and Sam Lessin is moving to Facebook,” reads the Drop.io blog.
Following the buyout, the service is now being shut now however:
“In the coming weeks, we’ll be winding down the drop.io service. As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you’ll be able to download content from existing drops until Dec. 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through Dec. 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After Dec. 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well.”