Intel is partnering with Nuance and others to add voice, gesture, and face recognition to its computers. As part of what it calls "perceptual computing," Intel is adding systems that will recognize users and respond to them. Among other things, that means an impressive 3D interface reminiscent of the Kinect that can recognize gestures from all ten fingers individually. Though ultimately it's meant to be built into computers themselves, Intel says it will build a small peripheral that will attach to current-generation machines and be released later this year and tie into an existing SDK. In a demo, we saw users control a virtual cube by "holding" it; though the system still seems limited, the ultimate goal is a virtual interface you can use with your hands.
Though 3D gesture recognition is the most science fictional part of the design, Intel has a wide spread of "natural human interfaces" it wants to add. Nuance is providing a voice recognition module that will give Dell computers (and later others) Siri-like voice analysis and response; the Dell computers will also come with support for seven points of facial recognition and muscle movement tracking, allowing for more sophisticated face-based logins and other applications later. These Dell machines will also come with the gesture system mentioned above.
So far, "perceptual computing" seems operational but still a bit fragmented, and a lot of the parts already exist in other forms elsewhere. If Intel can pull it all together as a package and get widespread adoption, though, it's one of the more interesting interface announcements we've seen so far at CES — at the very least, it stands to give Asus and Leap Motion a run for their money.