California-based start-up Canesta will be acquired by Microsoft before the end of the year. Canesta is a leader in 3D sensing technology, whose 44 granted patents represent the company's breakthroughs in many areas critical to enabling natural user interfaces (NUIs) -- such as Microsoft's own Kinect -- across many platforms.
The deal will see Canesta's products and technology, including its single chip CMOS 3D sensors, acquired by the Xbox 360 creator. The CMOS 3D imaging chips enable fine-grained, three-dimensional depth-perception in a wide range of applications, allowing products to react on sight to the actions or motions of individuals and objects in their field of view.
The move could influence the evolution of Microsoft NUIs in both Kinect and its next operating system Windows 8.
Jim Spare, Canesta president and CEO said: “This is very exciting news for the industry. There is little question that within the next decade we will see natural user interfaces become common for input across all devices."
"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," he added.
Founded in 1999 Canesta has raised $60 million in funding from investors Carlysle Venture Partners, Venrock and Honda. Honda plans to use Canesta's technology in its future cars to detect and avoid obstacles.
No details of the agreement have been disclosed.