The company behind Microsoft's Kinect controller wants to kill the remote.
By Tom Simonite
Why: User interfaces based on gesture recognition make possible new applications in gaming and everyday computing.
Key innovation: Developed the 3-D sensor system that Microsoft's Kinect device uses to track movement.
PrimeSense has developed a system that uses an infrared projector and camera and a special microchip to track the movement of objects and individuals in three dimensions. The system can interpret specific gestures, making completely hands-free control of electronic devices a reality.
PrimeSense's platform was an integral part of Microsoft's Kinect, which enables users to play video games without a controller. Eight million of the devices sold in the 60 days after it went on sale.
Although the first application was for gaming, the company's hardware and software platform can be adapted to any type of electronic device. In collaboration with PC manufacturer Asus, PrimeSense has developed a set-top box that allows gesture control of a computer wirelessly connected to a television, providing a more intuitive way to integrate the two devices than the keyboard-type controllers used in current Internet TV systems. The company has also created an open application programming interface for its 3-D sensing platform in order to encourage developers to create new ways to use the technology.
Challenges and Next Steps:
The company is working on improving the resolution of its tracking system so it can recognize subtler movements and potentially even finger movements, which would allow users to input text.