Kinect developer PrimeSense detected and acquired by Apple

Arguably the technology which makes Microsoft’s Xbox console stand-out from its main competitor is its Kinect peripheral; an innovative motion detecting camera. Whilst many gamers are slowly coming around to see its benefits; developers have been hacking it for years for fantastic uses.

Apple is known to acquire a range of technologies to use for its devices; ‘TouchID’ is a feature found in the new iPhone 5S made possible through the company’s AuthenTec acquisition in 2012.

A notable example is the ‘TouchID’ feature found in the new iPhone 5S – an addition made possible through the company’s AuthenTec acquisition in 2012.

Now it appears the company is also starting to see the benefits in motion-detection; acquiring the Kinect’s developer, PrimeSense, for a rumoured $360 million.

Naturally, the exact Kinect technology is under (I’d imagine a heavily-guarded) license to Microsoft – but PrimeSense has been working on subsequent technologies since; including a new project called Capri.

Capri is a cheaper, lower-power and tinier version of its 3D system-on-a-chip; so small that it's designed to be embedded inside tablets, laptops, thin displays and, of course, smartphones…

Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone space is indisputably Korean-manufacturer Samsung; a company in which it’s been in a legal battle with for seemingly decades. In Samsung’s latest flagship handset, the S4, they unveiled a gesture-based feature known (aptly) as “Air Gestures”.

Microsoft has some pretty comprehensive patents in the area such as this one; which protects mimicking a physical object, as well as recognising sign language.

 

Purely speculative, but many wondered why Apple chose to start including their M7 co-processor for motion detection in their iPad range – not just the iPhone – and this could explain why. Offloading the camera to the low-power chip like the gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass is today; would be one method of reducing the battery-drain such functionality would include.

Of course the official statement from Apple is: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

If anything like the AuthenTec deal which resulted in TouchID being implemented in the iPhone just a year later… it won’t be long until we see the “fruits” (get it?) of whatever Apple is up to… it may even be a Kinect competitor for that ‘iTV’ we keep hearing about…

What do you think Apple will do with their PrimeSense acquisition?

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