Microsoft Kinect, formerly known as Project Natal, attracted a lot of attention at the E3 games convention in Los Angeles, allowing users of Xbox 360 games consoles to interact with their televisions through natural gestures without the need for a remote control. Similar capabilities could be coming to other television devices and displays through a partnership between Softkinetic, Optrima and Metrological. So soon we could be able to interact with television using 3D gesture-based interfaces like in the movie Minority Report.

Softkinetic provides a 3D gesture recognition system, iisu, which together with an OptriCam 3D colour camera from Optrima, combined with Mediaconnect TV middleware from Metrological, offers an integrated solution that can run on Intel Media Processor hardware.

“Metrological has developed a powerful, highly interactive digital home entertainment solution that enables the delivery and consumption of rich, interactive, high-quality content at home,” said Michel Tombroff, the chief executive of Softkinetic. “By partnering with Metrological, we can provide 3D gesture-based entertainment content without the need for an expensive, proprietary video game console.”

The Softkinetic Studios gesture-based development team is led by Mike Nichols, former executive producer with Microsoft Kinect. The iisu system, so named because the interface is you, allows full-body tracking for multiple users.

Softkinetic is based in Belgium while Metrological is based in the Netherlands.

Mediaconnect TV is a next-generation hybrid consumer TV entertainment platform based on the Intel Media Processor and powered by Metrological’s Metroconnect Operating System.

“Metrological’s leading software platform combines all of the features of interactive television into a single convenient and easy to use solution,” said Albert Dahan, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Metrological. “The addition of 3D gesture-recognition capabilities will provide Mediaconnect TV users with the most exciting interactive experience any digital entertainment device currently has to offer.”

Reference development kits will be available for developers later this year. Mediaconnect TV will soon be deployed commercially in Europe, extending into North America in the autumn.