When Windows 10 was announced as the next version of Microsoft's popular operating system back in the fall of 2014 one of the features that created a lot of excitement was Windows Hello and specifically the facial recognition element.
Using a special camera technology from Intel called RealSense, Windows Hello can scan and then recognize your face using three cameras (Color, 3D and Infrared) to provide you a secure means of access not only to your Windows 10 machine but also apps and websites.
No further proof is needed about the popularity of a feature like this then our video last year that demoed Windows Hello and its facial recognition for the first time outside of Microsoft. That video has been viewed over 143,000 times and is still the number result when you search YouTube for a "windows hello facial recognition demo".
You would think with that kind of desire for this cool and secure feature that third party camera peripheral manufacturers such as Logitech and even Microsoft would have jumped on this early and fast.
Well it did not happen.
Instead, Intel was selling so many of their RealSense DevKit cameras that they were regularly running out of stock and having to build more.
Still, no third party manufacturers noticed.
However, new devices such as laptops, tablets and phones started to trickle into the market and slowly put the Windows Hello facial recognition feature at more users disposal but that meant buying a new device to get the capability.
What about everyone who already owned a desktop or laptop computer and just wanted to add facial recognition with Windows Hello?
Well, in the last nine months only two manufacturers have announced their intentions to finally bring third party cameras to market that support Windows Hello.
One was Razer's Stargazer (announced at CES 2016) and the other one was from MouseComputer (revealed at COMPUTEX 2016).
While nothing has been heard about the MouseComputer camera since early June, this week at IFA 2016 in Berlin Razer announced that their Stargazer is now available for pre-order and according to the product page at the Razer online store it begins shipping on 21 September 2016.
The USB 3.0 camera fully supports Windows Hello as expected but is also a full HD 1080p webcam with several other features:
- Ultra-high 60 frames per second capture optimized for streaming (720p max)
- Max 1080p HD video capture
- Automatic noise cancelling dual array mic
- Dynamic Background Removal
- 3D scanning
- Facial/gesture recognition
- Flexible clip for laptops and desktop monitors
The product specifications, in other words what your PC needs to have to support this device, looks like this:
- 6th generation Intel® Core™ processor
- PC with a free USB 3.0 port
- 8GB of free hard disk space
- DirectX 9.0
- Intel® HD graphics
- Windows® 10
- 4GB memory
- Internet connection
One note. The specs list that an Intel 6th generation processor is needed, this is the same requirement listed for the Intel RealSense DevKit camera however, I have been using the Intel developer kit camera on my AMD based system without any issues at all. The only time it has not worked was when I attempted to use it with a USB 2.0 port - it really does need the USB 3.0 for the higher speed and bandwidth.
I have already pre-ordered one of these Stargazer's from Razer and will share more about the device with you once it has arrived.