Samsung has created a sensor capable of capturing both a standard RGB image and depth information at the same time.

The new technology could give devices Microsoft Kinect-like gesture recognition capabilities without the need for two separate sensors, allowing for the installation of the tech on much smaller devices like mobile phones.

The CMOS sensor contains rows of depth-sensing z-pixels built into a traditional RGB sensor array, allowing it to record light and depth information simultaneously.

Small images, big possibilities

At the moment, the image quality isn't going to break any records, creating 1.38-megapixel (1,920 x 720) snaps.

Meanwhile, the z-pixels which create the depth image are four times the size of the image-sensing ones, but create an image with a resolution of just 480 x 360.

An image processing algorithm interpolates missing RGB image information caused by the z-pixels.

As gesture-based interactions become more common in tech, this new sensor could mean great leaps in what is possible in cameras and mobile devices.

For close-quarters gesture control needed for mobile devices, it will need to be more accurate than Samsung has so far managed. At present it records a margin of error in range measurement of up to 1m at a distance of 1-5m, but certainly gives a peek at the future of depth-sensitive imaging.

From Tech-on via The Verge