Looking to further capture the hearts of the streaming community, Razer introduces the Stargazer, a webcam with motion and gesture tracking, 3D facial and object scanning, dynamic background removal and it's pretty much a Kinect.
"Webcams have not had any real innovation in several years, beyond resolution quality," says Razer CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan via the official product announcement, and he's got a point. Ask most streaming types the best webcam for Twitch broadcasts and they will give the same answer they have been giving for ages — the Logitech C920 Pro. It's a great piece of hardware — I've owned two now — but it's just a webcam.
The Razer Stargazer, which would have sounded much better had they just called it the Razer Gazer, is a webcam capable of capturing 720p at 60 frames per second and 1080p at 30 frames per second. As a device aimed at putting little picture of people in the corner of gameplay, that's just fine.
But it's the next-generation features that should really capture the imagination of the streaming public. Powered by the Intel RealSense SR300 camera, the Stargazer does things like intelligently sense the depth of the image and remove the background from it.
That same depth-senseing, 3D scanning capability means the Stargazer is also able to scan physical objects — say a cat, perhaps — into the digital world. It also features tracking for up to 78 points on the face and 22 on the hand, allowing for motion controls as well as making programs like Facerig, which maps a person's face to animate an on-screen avatar, much more effective.
These are pretty much all things Microsoft's Kinect can do, only this mounts neatly on top of a computer monitor and doesn't send your personal information to the government and email your nude gaming sessions to your parents (neither does the Kinect, but fearmongering is fun).
I've had a 1.5 by 2m green screen waiting to be set up in my office for months now. If the 'Gazer shows up and renders it obsolete I will be so angry. Also very happy.
It remains to be seen how effective the $US199 ($278) Stargazer's special features are in an office or game room environment — we'll find out when we get our hands on one closer to the Q2 2016 release. Until then, check out the official product page for more info.