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Apple reportedly in talks to buy Israeli firm responsible for Xbox Kinect's 3D sensor tech

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Apple is rumored to be in acquisition talks with Israeli development company PrimeSense, which created the range camera technology Microsoft used as a base for the Xbox 360's 3D-motion tracking Kinect sensor.

PrimeSense
PrimeSense's Carmine short-range sensor.


According to Israeli publication Calcalist (via The Next Web), Apple and PrimeSense are in advanced talks for an acquisition reportedly worth $280 million. The company creates sensors, chips and middle-ware for motion-sensing and 3D scanning applications.

Aside from the infrared motion tracking system in the Kinect, technology from PrimeSense is being used in advanced applications like Matterport's 3D scanner, which uses the Israeli firm's sensors to create full-color models of interior spaces. Another case study is iRobot's Ava healthcare robot, which uses PrimeSense sensors to "see," allowing it to navigate and interact with people.

It is unclear what plans Apple has for PrimeSense, but some of the firm's technology could potentially be combined with that of "indoor GPS" firm WiFiSlam, which the Cupertino tech giant purchased in March.

Apple already has a presence in Israel after purchasing flash memory component maker Anobit in 2011 for $400 million. Since then, Apple has expanded operations in the region with research and development centers in Ra'anana and Haifa.
post #2 of 28
Balmer just crapped his pants and is heading to Israel.
post #3 of 28
This would be cool if added to every MacBook. They would become aware of their surroundings and respond accordingly. This could also turn every iOS device into 3D world mapping camera. There are many other uses.
post #4 of 28
Interesting. Expect to see this influence within 4 years.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #5 of 28
A good decision by Apple!

It's good whenever Apple uses some of it's huge stockpile of cash and puts it to good use.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Balmer just crapped his pants and is heading to Israel.

 

Why? Kinect 2.0 is being manufactured by a different company.

post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Interesting. Expect to see this influence within 4 years.

LOL. Good one.


Edited by matrix07 - 7/16/13 at 5:18am
post #8 of 28
Let's imagine the potential of this tech with apple.

Home Sensor Tech.

A system that monitors posture of every individual at home. Hence when someone's jogging the system could dim the lights or use light projections on the wall to simulate you being outdoor like a park.

When your lying on the couch in front of your tv, it ask you if you want to turn the tv on with Siri and play some Apple TV movies.

When your hitting bed it could dim the lights and when it's detected your asleep it could turn off all lights that are on.

Even play some soft music from your music collection on iTunes.

For that matter all lights in the house could be motion turned on / off.

Imagine the endless possibilities if this tech went into a shopping mall / office / everywhere. 😃
Edited by nikilok - 7/16/13 at 4:52am
post #9 of 28

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the top reasons why Apple has to ship an actual television set. Can't see Apple taking a modular approach with the motion sensors necessary to drive the "simplest interface" Jobs and Ive have envisioned for iTV to just work out of the box.
 

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

 

Why? Kinect 2.0 is being manufactured by a different company.

If they are buying sensors from PrimeSense, then Microsoft might have to start looking for another company to buy sensors from.

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

If they are buying sensors from PrimeSense, then Microsoft might have to start looking for another company to buy sensors from.

I wonder about licensing too. Anyone up on the state of the IP related to this?
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckD View Post

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the top reasons why Apple has to ship an actual television set.

Why do they need a television at all when they already have a box that people would actually buy?
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckD View Post

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the top reasons why Apple has to ship an actual television set. Can't see Apple taking a modular approach with the motion sensors necessary to drive the "simplest interface" Jobs and Ive have envisioned for iTV to just work out of the box.

 


Yeah I could see this tech being used for full scale TV set.

Maybe gestures could replace some of the remote control functions and the 3D sensors could determine where in the room you are making the gestures from?

Kinda like Leap but with a greater range of distance and versatility.

This could be the distinguishing feature to set the TV apart from the Apple TV set top box.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I wonder about licensing too. Anyone up on the state of the IP related to this?

IT depends on whether PrimeSense sells licensing or the actual sensors.  The Kinect may be made by someone else, but they probably buy the actual sensors from PrimeSense.  If Apple buys them out, they may decide to stop the sales of current sensors to the outside world.  Isn't that what they did with Anobit?

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

IT depends on whether PrimeSense sells licensing or the actual sensors.  The Kinect may be made by someone else, but they probably buy the actual sensors from PrimeSense.  If Apple buys them out, they may decide to stop the sales of current sensors to the outside world.  Isn't that what they did with Anobit?

I hope someone who knows what PrimeSense has been doing will comment.

3D infrared "tactilevision" for machines, which can be transcoded into visible and tactile information for humans, is a hugely fundamental technology, sort of like photography itself.

I can't imagine that Apple would want to monopolize all applications for itself, but rather want to license it out widely. This is about a new kind of awareness, in the same class as the microscope or telescope.

On the other hand, I can't imagine a better developer and gatekeeper for this than Apple. I was a bit sad to see Microsoft get ahold of it first, and then use it primarily for gaming.
post #16 of 28
As others have mentioned here, the possibilities are endless. This is quite an exciting development on Apple's part - if true?

Oh by the way, from what I read a while back, this company originally approached Apple not Microsoft with this technology, but it ended up falling through due to the overbearing security Apple demanded in dealings with the company. It apparently pissed off the powers that be, with one member of the contingent referring to Apple as a pain in the ass, because of its security requirements. Steve Jobs was still CEO at the time, so Microsoft got Kinect instead! And now Apple might be purchasing said company - well that's Karma for you!

Correction - An Israeli contingent from the IDF approached Apple and Microsoft with a Kinect like device using sensors produced by this company, not this company itself.
Edited by 1983 - 7/16/13 at 10:36am
post #17 of 28
It's funny how people say "it can know what I'm doing or where I am and react accordingly" but when Google uses Google Now, people say "they are spying on us, using our information, NSA blah blah".

Yes I realize Apple is MUCH more secure with their data and doesn't sell it to others, but do you really want any company knowing what you are doing at all times of the day?

Neat tech, will be interesting to see how/if they implement it and what the public will think of it.
post #18 of 28
I still don't like this tech as it's being used today, but for the applications it's not yet being used on, I see more promise. Especially as computers become more "invisible", more intuitive, more conversational and more "human" in their interactions.

"Mac... Would you mind cleaning up a bit and organizing all these files while I get a coffee? Also, take these photos and color correct them to match the last batch we worked on yesterday."

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


...

On the other hand, I can't imagine a better developer and gatekeeper for this than Apple. I was a bit sad to see Microsoft get ahold of it first, and then use it primarily for gaming.

 

Gaming has low security requirement.  Faster to market and MS was pretty successful on bringing it to the game world.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbit View Post

It's funny how people say "it can know what I'm doing or where I am and react accordingly" but when Google uses Google Now, people say "they are spying on us, using our information, NSA blah blah".

Yes I realize Apple is MUCH more secure with their data and doesn't sell it to others, but do you really want any company knowing what you are doing at all times of the day?

Neat tech, will be interesting to see how/if they implement it and what the public will think of it.

 

Nothing is secure with Apple either.  When NSA demands, every company will give.  The best way is not using any real information when you're on the internet, and highly encrypt everything you want to store in the cloud.

post #21 of 28
They should buy LEAP Motion in case they don't work out a deal with the Xbox firm... and put them inside future IGZO display retina iMac's. But mostly they should buy LEAP because they already have an app store and developers for their technology.

iTunes Radio - Apple TV with Wifi AC - Gold Anodized Aluminum iPhone - Mac Pro: September - November 2013

 

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iTunes Radio - Apple TV with Wifi AC - Gold Anodized Aluminum iPhone - Mac Pro: September - November 2013

 

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post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkdefender View Post

They should buy LEAP Motion in case they don't work out a deal with the Xbox firm... and put them inside future IGZO display retina iMac's. But mostly they should buy LEAP because they already have an app store and developers for their technology.

I think what Apple can do with Prime Sense far exceeds what LEAP's technology is capable of.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Why do they need a television at all when they already have a box that people would actually buy?

Gee, I dont know, maybe because they're in the business of selling integrated, end-to-end products?

Face it, the current hockey puck stream box is to the real iTV what the Rokr was to the iPhone. The only reason why Apple hasn't opened the App Store floodgates is because they're holding out for a truly revolutionary input method that's natural and works better than anyone else's. You can only do that when you control the whole widget. Now, let's see if Timmy and Eddy can get the cable/satellite operators to subsidize some of the hardware.
Edited by ChuckD - 7/16/13 at 3:48pm
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckD View Post

Gee, I don't know, maybe because they're in the business of selling integrated, end-to-end products?

Apple will never own the back end of this product. Apple TV can't be measured against the rest.
Quote:
The only reason why Apple hasn't opened the App Store floodgates is because they're holding out for a truly revolutionary input method that's natural and works better than anyone else's.

They have it. It's called a touchscreen. In fact, the App Store is already on Apple TV. It's called using an iOS device.
Quote:
Now, let's see if Timmy and Eddy can get the cable/satellite operators to subsidize some of the hardware.

Why, when no other television has been subsidized by the telecoms? 1oyvey.gif
post #25 of 28
The technology underpinning the original kinect was fantastic, but the latency and resolution throughput of the USB 2 interface really hampered the experience.

This and the Ocular Rift VR headset will make for an exciting future.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple will never own the back end of this product. 


Who said anything about ownership? It's all about control.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They have it. It's called a touchscreen. In fact, the App Store is already on Apple TV. It's called using an iOS device.


Good enough, but not great.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Why, when no other television has been subsidized by the telecoms? 1oyvey.gif


You're assuming iTV would be just like other televisions.

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckD View Post

Who said anything about ownership? It's all about control.

I don't remember if it was here or somewhere else where someone said that video media hasn't been backed against the wall like music was. Apple will have to go to them, not the other way around, and that will make deals terrible for consumers.

Apple really needs to go directly to the content creators and individual channels themselves to negotiate deals. Like their most recent update to Apple TV... except NOT DEPENDENT ON PAYMENT TO AN EXISTING CABLE OR SATELLITE PLAN. 1confused.gif1mad.gif1oyvey.gif
Quote:
Good enough, but not great.

So what could possibly be better? Don't say gestures and an "always on" Kinect-style control.
Quote:
You're assuming iTV would be just like other televisions.

No, just that Apple cares about its customers.
post #28 of 28
This would be very bad for Microsoft, and very good for Apple.

I've been re-building the OpenNI libraries so it's a better behaved development stack on Mac, this is so I can use the Kinect with SceneKit. Combined with things like Apple's SceneKit on Mac, you have a wonderfully easy 3D environment for integrating the human element with Mac apps, with loads of possibilities.

The Kinect demonstrations for Xbox One sells the possibility of a perceptually aware computer. One that literally knows who you are, talk to you, and offer very natural modes of rich interactions. All without skipping a beat (yes I mean music beats).

So, here's to hoping Apple gets ahold of the tools from PrimeSense and brings this out on iOS and Mac. I'd prefer if PrimeSense remains like Imagination Technologies, so Microsoft Research can continue to push the envelope.
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