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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,019member
    Balmer just crapped his pants and is heading to Israel.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,167member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    irelandireland Posts: 17,799member
    Interesting. Expect to see this influence within 4 years.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    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.

  • Reply 6 of 27
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    Interesting. Expect to see this influence within 4 years.


    LOL. Good one.


  • Reply 7 of 27
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member
    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. ????
  • Reply 8 of 27
    chuckdchuckd Posts: 34member


    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.

     


  • Reply 9 of 27
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,385member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 27
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    drblank wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 11 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    chuckd wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 12 of 27
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    chuckd wrote: »
    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.

     
    <img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="28404" data-type="61" src="http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/28404/width/350/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 350px; height: 173px">

    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.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,385member

    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?

  • Reply 14 of 27
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    drblank wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    19831983 Posts: 1,225member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    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."
  • Reply 18 of 27
    ipenipen Posts: 410member

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 27
    ipenipen Posts: 410member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 27
    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.
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