As Microsoft readies the launch of its body-tracking Kinect camera for Xbox 360, Belgian's In3Depth, the holding company for Softkinetic and Optrima, has landed €8 million ($10 million) in funding for its own gesture-based technology.
The investment comes from European telecom operator Belgacom and SRIW Techno, the venture capital arm of Belgian investment firm SRIW.
Softkinetic formed a studio
for gesture-based games in 2009, initially announcing the controller-free rhythm title Silhouette
. Shortly after that reveal, the company announced a partnership with Optrima, which develops gesture-sensing camera technology such as the OptriCam that works with Softkinetic software.
Softkinetic said in March this year that former Kinect executive producer Mike Nichols left Microsoft to join the studio
to lead production of commercial gesture-based games that use a 3D camera. Microsoft's Kinect launches this November with a 15-game lineup.
Softkinetic also said it provides middleware called iisu that streamlines development of 3D gesture-based games, software that supports "all major 3D camera manufacturers."
Softkinetic and Optrima are not limited to games, but are also developing gesture-controlled user interfaces and applications in consumer electronics devices including set-top boxes, televisions and PCs, according to a statement.
While the company said part of its business is in products for game consoles, it did not reveal any talks or partnerships with video game console makers or outside game developers. In3Depth has partnerships with companies including Texas Instruments and Panasonic.
Softkinetic is optimistic that demand for 3D camera technology with take off soon, with CEO Michel Tombroff calling the company's technology potentially a "disruption of a similar magnitude to touch interfaces in smartphones."
Optrima CEO Andre Miodezky said in a statement that "The market for 3D cameras is entering into a phase of rapid growth."