Sony Look At Face Recognition Tech For PS3

Is Sony about to steal Microsoft’s thunder with face recognition technology?

Sony has revealed it is about to add facial recognition capabilities to its PlayStation Eye webcam, which some pundits think is the company’s answer to Microsoft’s Natal technology, which was showcased at E3 this year.

Sony CE’s European head of developer services, Kish Hirani, said at the Brighton Develop Conference, that this new technology will be added to existing hardware.

“It will be able to detect gender and even the age of the face, separate facial features such as the nose, eyes and ears, and even detect whether you’re smiling or not,” says Hirani. “If you are working with the Playstation Eye and think there is some new tech you’re going to have to develop for the motion controllers, just get in touch with us. We have a wealth of libraries available, and the chances are you won’t have to develop any technology yourself.”

Will it mean that libraries will also include skeleton tracking, and expand on the interaction between a camera and the motion controllers? While he didn’t give a definitive yes, he did say, “The sphere is what the camera is tracking, in full RGB — it tracks X and Y, and Z is deduced from the area of the sphere,” he said.

Will it also be used as a security tool – ie, you can’t use the unit unless you have your face recognised? Be a good way to keep the kids playing time to a minimum too, with only mum and dad’s faces being able to turn the unit on.

More importantly, how much will it add to the price of what some gamers consider one of the most expensive consoles out there?