Sony have revealed plans to add facial recognition capabilities to their PlayStation Eye webcam, potentially stealing part of Microsoft's Project Natal thunder. According to Kish Hirani, Sony Europe's head of developer services, the functionality will soon be added to the existing hardware, with developer libraries available for games studios so that they don't need to exert effort specifically coding for the new system.
The technology, says Hirani, 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." It will also work in tandem with the upcoming Sony Motion Controller, with the Eye camera tracking X, Y and Z motion by using the area of the glowing sphere.
However the Motion Controller's own accelerometer will also allow for tracking, even when out of sight of the PlayStation Eye. Obviously developers will need to add support for the new functionality to their titles, but Hirani told them "the chances are you won’t have to develop any technology yourself."