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Apple Gestures at Microsoft

Move over Microsoft. Apple now owns PrimeSense, the Israeli chip company behind Microsoft's motion-controlled user interface in the original Xbox Kinect. Multiple news reports confirm that Apple bought PrimeSense for around $360 million.

PrimeSense Ltd. specializes in three-dimensional sensors and "machine vision" technology for natural user interface systems. The company and the technology first hit the commercial mainstream in 2010, when Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) debuted the Kinect controller for its Xbox game system. Interest in gesture-based UIs has skyrocketed since then, and numerous companies are now developing or buying sensor-driven technologies for user interface control.

Speculation is rife that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) could use the PrimeSense acquisition for its fledgling Apple TV offering. But the chip technology could -- at least theoretically -- work equally well in a hub device designed to power a home control system. The launch of the iPhone 4 brought motion sensors to the forefront in the mobile industry, and Apple could combine its smartphone presence with a broader motion-sensing system to extend its technology domain further into the home and beyond.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), meanwhile, showed its hand in gesture-based UIs with a patent filing earlier this year titled "System and Methods for Controlling a User Experience." That application describes a UI that would let users perform a gesture within an electromagnetic field to control TV functions, as well as home appliances such as thermostats and connected lights. (See Comcast Goes Sci-Fi With Sensor-Driven UI Plans .)

Whatever the outcome of Apple's latest purchase, it's clear that the market is heating up for motion control and sensor-driven UIs.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

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DanJones 11/30/2013 | 9:43:58 PM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity We can all pratice this next week, make a video and all that jazz. :-)
albreznick 11/30/2013 | 9:11:57 AM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity you're right. My problem. Never mind. :)
DanJones 11/28/2013 | 5:33:46 PM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity What part of jazz hands didn't you understand?
albreznick 11/28/2013 | 12:40:21 PM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity So clearly the solution, Dan, is to be as starionary as possible while you're being mobile. Jeez, don't blame the phone just because you insist on moving around with it. 
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 4:27:14 PM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity Yeah, that shake function on the newer Samsungs was waaaaaay too sensitive. I kept changing the radio station I was listening to if it shifted in my pocket or bag.
Liz Greenberg 11/26/2013 | 4:19:49 PM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity I think that I would rather wave at my phone than speak to it.  Seriously though, my cousin has a Samsung phone that will respond to hovering...we had to turn it off, it was always doing the wrong thing as she thought about what she actually wanted to do. 

We need hidden cameras to capture the hilarity that is going to ensue...oh wait, we have Google Glass!
albreznick 11/26/2013 | 4:15:08 PM
Re: Rather, a fantastic opportunity That will be quite a sight. Sounds like everyone will be having an epileptic fit at the same time.
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 1:10:43 PM
Rather, a fantastic opportunity Gesture-based OSes  will be a fantastic opportunity, for JAZZ HANDS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuPSIbABYVU

 

Seriously, you understand that if they become commonplace as a UI we'll all be wiggling and waving all over the place? Bad enough having to wear fingerless gloves for the touchscreens.
alanbreznick 11/26/2013 | 1:00:25 PM
Re: Missed opportunity Yep, i agree. It's a hot area. Others will be jumping in too. Will be interesting to see what cable operators and other SPs do without crossing the consumer privacy line.  
DanJones 11/26/2013 | 12:47:22 PM
Re: Missed opportunity I've seen a bunch of blue-sky gesture OS projects. I suspect it will be a few years before we start to see them in mobile devices but its definitely one direction the market might start to head in.

Expect to see a lot more VC money being thrown at this area in the coming years.
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