On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Apple Inc purchased PrimeSense Ltd, the company behind the motion sensing technology found in Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect videogame peripheral, for $350 million. The newly acquired company’s technology allows for motion and static object detection from a digital device for various purposes, including the face and gesture recognition that is seen in the Kinect’s functionality.
This may all sound familiar to those accustomed to Apple’s habits of snatching up smaller chip and sensor manufacturers before integrating the acquired technology into a new device. The most notable example in recent memory is the iPhone 5S Touch ID sensor, a new biometric security feature that stems directly from Apple’s purchase of AuthenTec (for almost this same price) a little over a year prior to the September 10, 2013 smartphone announcement. Though
Apple is, as usual, keeping quiet about what it intends to do with the technology. PrimeSense’s solution could have many applications when considering the Apple product lineup. Apple TV is an easy comparison to make with the Xbox One, which uses motion sensing as human interface and face recognition for real time account management, but what about mobile iLife offerings?
Kinect-like technology is carving out a niche in biometric gaming, with titles like SEGA’s GO DANCE, an iPad and iPhone mobile game with full body motion capture provided by the Extreme Reality SDK, so enhanced mobile gaming is definitely a possibility if PrimeSense chips make it to the next Apple tablet or phone. Face and gesture recognition can also be leveraged as payment protection authentication factors for more secure transactions in mCommerce, as we are seeing with third party smartphone solutions.
Whatever the case may be, this purchase is certainly something to take note of as we move into 2014 which promises to be filled with mobile authentication innovations. Fingerprint sensors are just the start, and it is pretty safe to assume Apple is aware of this.