Microsoft raises bet on motion-sensing tech
Microsoft has acquired Canesta, which designs microchips that it says enable computers to see images in three dimensions, according to the privately-held Sunnyvale, California-based company.
The purchase comes as Microsoft prepares to launch its Kinect motion-controller next month, hoping to spark sales of its xBox video game consoles. Buying Canesta, whose technology focuses mainly on consumer applications, suggests Microsoft is already eyeing more and better movement-recognition products down the line for its video game system as well as other applications.
Kinect’s camera-based system, built into cameras, lets players control games with body and hand gestures, letting gamers ditch the hand-held controllers they have been tied to for decades.
Canesta says its CMOS 3-D chips gives everyday devices 3-D perception better than competing technology.
“Products based on this capability can then react on sight to the actions or motions of individuals and objects in their field of view,” Canesta says.
Honda has invested $5 million in Canesta to develop 3-D technology to help drivers park their cars and avoid collisions.
Hitachi is using Canesta’s technology to create a television controlled by hand gestures instead of a remote control.
Its technology excels at differentiating game-players from their background, Canesta says.
Canesta didn’t reveal what it sold for, but the company had received $60 million through four rounds of funding from venture capital groups.
Over a year ago, Microsoft announced it was working on Kinect but it remains to be seen how well it will be accepted by consumers.