Microsoft To Buy 3D Chipmaker - InformationWeek

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Microsoft To Buy 3D Chipmaker

Canesta's image sensors for 3D cameras will be used in developing natural user interfaces, says Microsoft.

Microsoft Xbox Kinect Bundle
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Microsoft Xbox Kinect Bundle

Microsoft has acquired Canesta, a small chipmaker that makes image sensors that enable cameras to record in 3D, an important capability in the development of natural user interfaces (NUIs) for computers.

The software maker confirmed Friday that it had signed a definitive agreement to buy Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Canesta. Microsoft did not release financial details.

While declining to provide specifics, Microsoft said Canesta had developed technology for sensing gestures that could prove useful in Microsoft's development of NUIs.

"We have a long history of investing in this technology, and this acquisition is just part of that long-term strategy, not for any specific product in the future," the company said in a statement emailed to InformationWeek.

NUI typically refers to the ability to allow a person to use relatively natural motions, movements, or gestures to control a computer application or manipulate onscreen content. Microsoft has developed motion-sensing technology for its Xbox 360 video-game console.

Called Kinect, the add-on scheduled for release Nov. 4 is a thin bar with cameras that lets people play games without the use of a hand controller. Instead, people can use hand and/or body movements to play games.

Canesta's 3D-sensing technology is typically used in developing NUIs. "There is little question that within the next decade, we will see natural user interfaces become common for input across all devices," Canesta chief executive Jim Spare said in a statement. "With Microsoft's breadth of scope from enterprise to consumer products, market presence, and commitment to NUI, we are confident that our technology will see wide adoption across many applications that embody the full potential of the technology."

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