Apple reported to buy Israeli 3D sensor firm PrimeSense for $345 million

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited January 2014
Building on rumors from July, an Israeli financial journal has reported that Apple "finalized the purchase details" on a plan to pay $345 million to acquire 3D motion and machine vision firm PrimeSense.



The report by Calcalist (machine translated by Google) said that "notice of the transaction is expected to be published in the next two weeks."

The acquisition, which neither party has yet confirmed, was said to have been scheduled to occur at the beginning of November, but delayed due to a "legal issue surrounding the partnership of developers."

PrimeSense issued a statement to Reuters saying "we are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and natural interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices. We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors."

Rumors of the deal first cycled this summer, when the same news site described Apple and PrimeSense in "advanced talks" with a $280 million price tag.

PrimeSense makes machine vision products that map out 3D environments and track movements of bodies, faces and facial expressions.



The firm's technology was initially applied in the development Microsoft's Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 games, and has also been used to create 3D models of interior spaces by Matterport, Qualcomm's Vuforia 3D immersive gaming platform (above) and to enable iRobot to develop its Ava healthcare robot with the ability navigate around and interact with people (below).



Calcalist speculated that the technology would be used by Apple in the development of television products or potentially wearable devices.

PrimeSense portrays its technology as involving a sensing device outfitted with both standard color video camera and depth image camera that codes a 3D scene, objects within it and their movements using near infrared light invisible to the human eye. This process is patented under the name "Light Coding."

This camera sensor communicates with an integrated System on a Chip developed by PrimeSense that performs sophisticated analysis of the camera data, enabling the system to map out walls and furniture in a room, capture 3D object shapes, and sense bodies, their position, movements and gestures.

PrimeSense 3D


The initial "Carmine" camera sensor (pictured at top) currently costs around $200 on the company's website, but a recent embedded version referred to as "Capri" delivers a cheaper, improved resolution version in a "tiny form factor" that PrimeSense outlines for use in tablets, TVs, PCs, phones and consumer robotics.

In 2011, Apple previously acquired Israel's flash memory firm Anobit for a reported $400 million.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    A wise move strategically, although a bit late (one must see which company holds the patents, whether this one or MS and which). On the other hand this and Anobit mean no other company might profit from these technologies, which might be useful in a wide range of products, not necessarily only in Cupertino made ones. I hope Apple doesn't scrap development in medical fields, other home appliances from the purchase. The same was true for Anobit and photography. I think some fields might suffer from this lack of innovation and wouldn't be of competition for Cupertino, quite the opposite, they could be furher sources of royalties. Let's see how it pans out. Personally I think the exclusive agreement with Loquimetal would make more sense as it allows the tech to be used in other fields too.
  • Reply 2 of 61
    Interesting. Looks like this scales down to Leap size
  • Reply 3 of 61
    What happens to those who are already using what will now be Apple's technology? Presume they are grandfathered in, but could Apple cut them off from future development?

    Sounds like a great buy; hope it leads to more "cool new products" Cook has promised.
  • Reply 4 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,302member
    Building on rumors from July, an Israeli financial journal has reported that Apple "finalized the purchase details" on a plan to pay $345 million to acquire 3D motion and machine vision firm PrimeSense.
    The firm's technology was initially applied in the development Microsoft's Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 games

    Before someone jumps in to ask "what's Microsoft going to do now" they don't use Primesense anymore. MS took development in house and created their own homegrown tech for the Kinect a couple years back.

    One other thing of note: Some of Primesense' IP was released to open-source, specifically to OpenN where they were one of the founding members. The company has been a strong proponent for interoperability of natural/organic interfaces that use gestures, sound and body movement for device control. That could now change if the Apple purchase is confirmed.

    http://www.openni.org/
  • Reply 5 of 61
    Holy cow. Another smart move on Apple's part. Keep buying those next-gen companies out from under your competitors, Apple. Hooray!
  • Reply 6 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Before someone jumps in to ask "what's Microsoft going to do now" they don't use Primesense anymore. MS took development in house and created their own homegrown tech for the Kinect a couple years back.



    One other thing of note: Some of Primesense' IP was released to open-source, specifically to OpenN where they were one of the founding members. The company has been a strong proponent for interoperability of natural/organic interfaces that use gestures, sound and body movement for device control. That could now change if the Apple purchase is confirmed.



    http://www.openni.org/

     

    AFAIK, Apple is under no obligation to maintain open source arrangements if they acquire valuable IP in the course of buying businesses. Existing arrangements as far as licensing agreements with other businesses may or may not survive the sale of the company. It just depends on the agreements.

  • Reply 7 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post



    Some of Primesense' IP was released to open-source, specifically to OpenN where they were one of the founding members. The company has been a strong proponent for interoperability of natural/organic interfaces that use gestures, sound and body movement for device control. That could now change if the Apple purchase is confirmed.



    http://www.openni.org/

     

    It is "Open NI" for natural interface, and it isn’t an open copy of PrimeSense "IP." It’s an interoperability standard designed to allow different companies to make cameras that work similarly with the PS midldeware/SoCs. 

     

    When Apple bought NeXT there was something called OpenStep, but it no longer mattered once Apple delivered OS X.

  • Reply 8 of 61
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,743member

    Good move on Apple's part!

     

    Apple bought AuthenTec a little over a year ago, and Touch ID already made it's way into the new iPhone 5s.

     

    I'm expecting to see an Apple product utilizing this PrimeSense 3d tech sometime in 2014.

     

    Bring it on!

  • Reply 9 of 61
    Note that Apple already has a patent on the 3D Machine Vision technology used by Microsoft's XBox Kinect.

    Since Microsoft has a license to all of Apple's technology with the stipulation to not copy Apple, Microsoft and Apple are getting along.

    With this purchase, Apple further controls the 3D machine vision technology. It may thus use it in future products.

    Of course this acquisition will block Samsung's attempts to copy Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 61
    At about 0:48 into the first movie (in the article), they (Qualcom):
    [LIST]
    [*] take a picture of a toy figure
    [*] create a 3D animated model
    [*] include it as a character participating in a live game.
    [/LIST]

    Consider this -- What if you could:
    [LIST]
    [*] take individual pictures of you and your friends
    [*] create a 3D animated models
    [*] include you and your friends as characters participating in a live game.
    [/LIST]

    Or even better, [B][I]you and your friends as characters participating in a live action movie...[/I][/B]

    Or a guided tour of, say Tivoli Gardens or Disneyland Paris...

    Or play soccer with...

    Or ???

    Here are some more videos at 9to5mac:

    [URL=http://************/2013/11/17/apple-reportedly-purchases-primesense-the-israeli-3d-body-sensor-firm-behind-microsoft-kinect-for-345m/]http://************/2013/11/17/apple-reportedly-purchases-primesense-the-israeli-3d-body-sensor-firm-behind-microsoft-kinect-for-345m/[/URL]

    Edit: I have repeatedly tried posting a link to the 925Mac forum that shows some more videos...

    But AI is apparently filtering the URLs???

    Anyway just go to the 925mac.com site.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    I am beginning to think that M&A (and integration) of key technology may be what sets Apple apart from the competition.

    Oddly, in Steve Jobs' original term, Apple had a tremendous NIH attitude.

    The acquisition of NeXT (and the return of Jobs) signaled a change in Apple's opinion of the technology field.

    A great change, IMO!
  • Reply 12 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    At about 0:48 into the first movie (in the article), they (Qualcom):

    • take a picture of a toy figure

    • create a 3D animated model

    • include it as a character participating in a live game.


    Consider this -- What if you could:

    • take individual pictures of you and your friends

    • create a 3D animated models

    • include you and your friends as characters participating in a live game.


    Or even better, you and your friends as characters participating in a live action movie...



    Or a guided tour of, say Tivoli Gardens or Disneyland Paris...



    Or play soccer with...



    Or ???



    Here are some more videos at 9to5mac:





    http://************/2013/11/17/apple-reportedly-purchases-primesense-the-israeli-3d-body-sensor-firm-behind-microsoft-kinect-for-345m/

     

    I think Apple will make a major play for the living room (and I'm not saying there will ever be a stand-alone TV by Apple) with either a new AppleTV or add-on that will rival the Microsoft and Samsung solutions. I foresee greater connection between iOS devices and TVs and a seamless experience for users, from apps and games to FaceTime to whatever else comes next.

  • Reply 13 of 61
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post



    What happens to those who are already using what will now be Apple's technology? Presume they are grandfathered in, but could Apple cut them off from future development?



    Sounds like a great buy; hope it leads to more "cool new products" Cook has promised.

    Apple when they acquired Authentec gave all the clients 6 months to find other alternatives to Authentec for there products after which they were cut off cold. See here.

    I would highly doubt that Apple would not do the same with Prime Sense.  They also did the same with Anobit and there memory tec chips for high speed memory control which also lengthen the useful lifespan of flash memory.

     

    Apple typically takes the engineering talent from the companies it purchases and moves them into apples engineering group, they don't waste the talent, which is the important part.

     

    In an anobits case they built a brand new research center in Israel for them and began a mass job hire to fill positions there.

  • Reply 14 of 61
    At about 0:48 into the first movie (in the article), they (Qualcom):
    • take a picture of a toy figure
    • create a 3D animated model
    • include it as a character participating in a live game.

    Consider this -- What if you could:
    • take individual pictures of you and your friends
    • create a 3D animated models
    • include you and your friends as characters participating in a live

      Edit: I have repeatedly tried posting a link to the 925Mac forum that shows some more videos...

      But AI is apparently filtering the URLs???

      Anyway just go to the 925mac.com site.

    Thx for the link. Even the house of the future has some dated tech. I doubt you'll have to click and drag slowly to make a shipping list.
  • Reply 15 of 61
    At about 0:48 into the first movie (in the article), they (Qualcom):
    • take a picture of a toy figure
    • create a 3D animated model
    • include it as a character participating in a live game.


    Consider this -- What if you could:
    • take individual pictures of you and your friends
    • create a 3D animated models
    • include you and your friends as characters participating in a live game.


    Or even better, you and your friends as characters participating in a live action movie...


    Or a guided tour of, say Tivoli Gardens or Disneyland Paris...


    Or play soccer with...


    Or ???


    Here are some more videos at 9to5mac:


    [URL=http:/2013/11/17/apple-reportedly-purchases-primesense-the-israeli-3d-body-sensor-firm-behind-microsoft-kinect-for-345m/]http://************/2013/11/17/apple-reportedly-purchases-primesense-the-israeli-3d-body-sensor-firm-behind-microsoft-kinect-for-345m/[/URL]

    I think Apple will make a major play for the living room (and I'm not saying there will ever be a stand-alone TV by Apple) with either a new AppleTV or add-on that will rival the Microsoft and Samsung solutions. I foresee greater connection between iOS devices and TVs and a seamless experience for users, from apps and games to FaceTime to whatever else comes next.

    I agree that it is not likely that Apple will enter the TV Set business -- though, I could see Apple offering large 4K displays.

    The first video at the 925mac.com site shows facial recognition (security, ecommerce). An example is a couple walking past a store window showing a large display. The store is closed. The display shows a full-size image of the woman, and she tries on a blouse then purchases it for later pickup or delivery. No phone, no tablet, no wallet, no fuss, no muss no bother -- just her.

    At another point in that video it shows an iPad app using a camera to do an interactive 3D room layout... There is already a iPad app that does a limited version of this. Think of how this could be used by an interior designer, furniture salesman, architect, store layout including iBeacon placement....
  • Reply 16 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post





    I agree that it is not likely that Apple will enter the TV Set business -- though, I could see Apple offering large 4K displays.



    One of the videos at the 925mac.com site shows facial recognition (security, ecommerce). An example is a couple walking past a store window showing a large display. The store is closed. The display shows a full-size image of the woman, and she tries on a blouse then purchases it for later pickup or delivery. No phone, no tablet, no wallet, no fuss, no muss no bother -- just her.

     

    Not a bad series of concepts in that video. I liked the modified Roomba and the idea that stores could retain a virtual "you" to view clothing options. I don't see that happening at the street level, but it's intriguing. 

  • Reply 17 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post



    Before someone jumps in to ask "what's Microsoft going to do now" they don't use Primesense anymore. 

     

    It never crossed my mind. Apple and Microsoft cross license each others patents. They are more alike than you think.

  • Reply 18 of 61
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

     

     

    It never crossed my mind. Apple and Microsoft cross license each others patents. They are more alike than you think.


     

    This is true to a degree. They don't cross-license all patents.

  • Reply 19 of 61
    I agree that it is not likely that Apple will enter the TV Set business -- though, I could see Apple offering large 4K displays.


    One of the videos at the 925mac.com site shows facial recognition (security, ecommerce). An example is a couple walking past a store window showing a large display. The store is closed. The display shows a full-size image of the woman, and she tries on a blouse then purchases it for later pickup or delivery. No phone, no tablet, no wallet, no fuss, no muss no bother -- just her.

    Not a bad series of concepts in that video. I liked the modified Roomba and the idea that stores could retain a virtual "you" to view clothing options. I don't see that happening at the street level, but it's intriguing. 

    Agree! It is more likely at the in-store level.

    Here's a shopping scenario:
    • you select some items in the store by tapping your iPhone on product screens presented (determined by a nearby iBeacons)
    • then you approach the iPad checkout station which is aware of the [potential] purchases (it doesn't know who you are)
    • the iPad checkout includes a mobile PrimeSense camera that performs facial recognition
    • it sends that [encrypted] to your iPhone
    • your iPhone decides that it is you (the fatal recognition matches) and presents a detail bill/receipt
    • you tap OK and electronic (iTunes?) payment is made

    I can see a version of this working at street level, because there is little risk as no money/merchandise has changed hands until shipment or pickup.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    This acquisition signals Apple's move into the Video games and TV.

    Apple's acquisition of Siri signaled the later roll out of this App as their entrance into the search market.

    Other than communication, the main use of mobile devices is for entertainment.

    Apple must start offering compelling new graphic based technologies or face falling behind the competition.

    The more graphic technology that is employed the greater the requirement for robust GPU based Cloud processing.

    Only AMD and Nvidia have the GPU IP required for high level Cloud processing.

    Only AMD and Intel have the vast experience in providing server chips

    The HSA innovations that AMD is integrating into their next gen server chips, should give them an advantage over the competition.
Sign In or Register to comment.