Thursday, 13 February 2014

Who are PrimeSense? Microsoft Kinect and Apple

Primesense are a fascinating firm because they developed the sensors that made Microsoft Kinect possible. The Israeli company are the market leaders in providing computers with the ability to read natural gestures from humans like moving their arms and body. This enables us all to interactive with our digital devices without a mouse, game controller or other device. We just use our selves as the input device.

This evolution is opening up tremendous opportunities for interactivity and experience in the virtual landscape of computers, tv and any digital device.

While Microsoft brought the technology to the mainstream through their Kinect platform it is rumoured that Apple were the originally intended patron. Turning down a deal at the time preferring Siri, the voice recognition technology, instead.

Apple just bought Primesense signalling an about turn in strategy and triggering inevitable speculation on the reasons why. Forbes speculated why without coming to a conclusion. cnet say it's to enhance their maps offering.

What I notice is that PrimeSense are incredibly passionate in the concept of natural interaction with digital devices. To the point that they have developed thier own OpenNI (Open Natural Interface) standard and development kit linked to OpenNi.org. This is the kind of leadership I would hope for from the leaders in Natural Interaction.

As I learn more about Apple, having recently bought my first device, a macbook air, and then an ipad mini I learn that under the hood the standards they set are particularly high. Git and Unix spring to mind. They care about incorporating best of breed technology into their infrastructure and ultimately consumer products. This takes time. So I am wary of listening too much to the gossip I hear about failed mergers. It's never as simple as just plugging a company and its technology in.

We're still waiting to see where this will all lead. The first signs are that the Primesense web site has stripped all news and other info. I remember reading that they had shrunk their technology so much they were now aiming for mobile phones. That implies it will be in iphone and ipad soon. When and if isn't clear. What purpose they would have isn't clear either. The most obvious application is for Apple TV. A real game changer and the most common rumour.

What makes most sense to me is owning the platform not the app the Structure sensor is a fully funded kickstarter project promising amazing potential for Apple products. Now that Apple own the OpenNI standard they can ensure projects like this get the best support possible. Taking the competitive advantage away from their rivals. Structure for example allows your device to scan a room and generate a 3d model. What this means for users isn't Apples concern. That's for app and device manufacturers to explore. Apple has just ensured that they will do it on Apple products.

I'm certainly growing in my faith in the Apple brand and its mission as I learn more about it.

What we do know is that tt's certainly an exciting time to follow tech.

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