Microsoft is negotiating the proposed $35 million purchase of a Israeli 3D webcam startup: 3dvsystems. The company has a specific technology that captures the depth and dimensions of moving objects in real-time. Microsoft sees a way to compete with the Nintendo Wii by implementing this technology with the Xbox, but certainly this technology has a much more broad application in the digital out-of-home sector. This software is similar to a gestural recognition system showcased at CES. The broad-reaching capabilities of the 3dvsystems software is specified in the “applications” section of the company’s website:
3DV Systems has developed, and successfully launched, a unique video imaging technology capable of capturing the depth dimension of objects in real time. This technology enables sensing motion and recognizing shape within a dynamically defined three-dimensional space.
3DV is currently focused on bringing the vision of next generation immersive man-machine interface come true in the worlds of gaming and web-conferencing, through introducing outstanding gesture recognition and personalization capabilities. At the same time, the company offers breakthrough solutions for the automotive-safety androbotics markets, based on the capability to detect objects (e.g. faces) at high precision and in changing environments.
Looking ahead, we see our video imaging technology playing a key role in shaping the interface of next-generation mobile devices and in the “Digital Home”.
Currently, there are several providers of gesture-based digital signage applications, but the applications for such devices have not even been tapped yet. This technology can also be easily implemented into
- Web conferencing, allowing users to implement their own background.
- Automotive safety, with fatigue detection and airbag deployment.
- Home automation with gesture control.
- Facial recognition, replacing typed passwords.
- Robotics, giving robots the ability to navigate by detecting different obstacles
3dvsystems says, “Move your hand, leg, head or finger, in any direction and setting, moving quickly or making fine, minor movement – all these gestures are easily detected and understood by the system, creating a unique personalized and immersive…experience.”
The revolution may still be in the works, but Sony’s Eye Toy, Micorosoft’s Vision camera, and the Nintendo Wii are all players in this gestural space. Microsoft can obviously benefit from owning the rights to such technology, even if its initial use is for such a trivial device as the Xbox.