A series of reports from Israeli publication Calcalist.co.il claims PrimeSense, the company behind the original Microsoft Kinect’s technology, is in acquisition talks with Apple, somewhere near a valuation in the $280-300M range. According to the report, a delegation of PrimeSense senior executives visited Apple’s engineering offices in recent days. The purchase would bolster Apple’s living room TV interface offerings and allow Apple to add controls with body movements and hand gestures to its products.
We’ve heard previously that Apple is working on such 3D gesture interface and may have already been licensing IP from the Israeli firm and/or its competitors. At $280M, Apple may believe it’s better to own this IP and technology rather than let others have access to it in the future.
Apple has its own patents on similar 3D technology and has been working on its own gesture-controlled OS (below).
Microsoft used the sensor technology that PrimeSense developed for its original Kinect, previously known as Project Natal, but has since replaced the technology with its own in-house technology for 3D body mapping and movement.
PrimeSense was founded in 2005 and is a founding member of OpenNI, an industry-led non-profit organization formed to certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware.
- Life after Kinect: PrimeSense’s plans for a post-Microsoft future (engadget.com)
- Microsoft Kinect May Be Coming to Cars to Add More Distractions (blogs.automotive.com)