Softkinetic and Optrima Form Gesture Control JV

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Softkinetic announced today that it has created a joint venture with 3-D camera maker Optrima. The new entity that will offer OEMs an all-in-one hardware and software gesture-control product.

Based in Brussels, Optrima was spun out of the Brussels VUB university and has invented something called Current Assisted Photonic Demodulation (CAPD) 3-D sensing technology. That’s the hardware that can be embedded into something like a television and will “look” out into the room and create a map. When viewers in front of supported TVs move, the camera will understand those movements and Softkinetic software will be able to translate those movements into commands. Softkinetic CEO Michel Tombroff told us in a phone interview that Optima’s technology works by measuring the time it takes for light to bounce back to the sensor, and that the company has patented a technology that requires less illumination and less power.

The joint venture builds on an investment that Softkinetic made in Optrima earlier this year. Tombroff would not specify how much his company invested but said that the total amount of money invested in both Softkinetic and Optrima was over $6 million.

The new company will be called Softkinetic-Optrima and will focus its efforts on developing and manufacturing the hardware. Though this JV will be able to offer this hardware/software combo to OEMs (no specific vendors have been announced yet), Softkinetic still plans on offering its software product to other 3-D sensor makers, like Canesta.

Gesture control is a topic we’ve been covering all year, and we even had Canesta CEO Jim Spare present at the “Next Big Thing” session at our recent NewTeeVee Live conference.

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