“The Israel-based company’s flagship product is a microchip that hears sounds and reads real-world motions and translates them into a 3D grid that devices can process. Founded in 2005, PrimeSense gained prominence last March when Microsoft announced it would be using its motion sensor technology in Kinect, its 3D videogame system.
Microsoft’s Kinect gaming system allows players to interact with the Xbox 360 without the need for a handheld controller. Unlike other video game systems—which use the controller as its only point of reference— PrimeSense’s sensing technology maps thousands of points, and can accurately read body movements, complex gestures and even verbal cues. It works by combining a 3D sensor with a projector that emits an invisible, infrared light in a complex pattern. The sensor picks up how the pattern is distorted when it hits users. In conjunction with a microphone that picks up sounds and their origin, the technology allows a device to fully “see” its surroundings.”
“The company has no plans to manufacture any of its own devices, but plans to make its motion sensor technology ubiquitous in others. Says Beracha: “We are opening the eyes of consumer devices to do all the things we’ve ever dreamt of, and more.”
Much more. Last month, a hardware hacking company, Adafruit, offered a $1,000 bounty to anyone who could supply open source drivers for the Kinect device and provide a video proving their code worked. When Microsoft threatened legal action against anyone daring to fiddle with its Kinect hardware, Adafruit upped the ante to $2,000— and later $3,000.
Just a week later, Adafruit had coined a winner and the OpenKinect community was born. Now using the open source code, enterprising hackers have jerry-rigged everything from virtual piano keyboards that let users play the piano anywhere, to an application for 3D drawings and digital puppeteering.”
Picture of Block Diagram from the PrimeSense website