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Subsidiary of Apple Inc.
Industry Fabless Semiconductor
Fate Bought out by Apple Inc.
Founded 2005
Defunct 2013
Headquarters Israel
Key people
  • Aviad Maizels (President and Founder)
  • Alexander Shpunt (Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder)
  • Inon Beracha (CEO)
  • PrimeSense 3D Sensor
  • Carmine 1.08
  • Carmine 1.09 (Short range)
  • Capri 1.25 (Not Yet Available)
  • Carmine 1080 SoC
  • Capri 1200 SoC (Not Yet Available)
  • NiTE Middleware

PrimeSense was an Israeli 3D sensing company based in Tel Aviv. PrimeSense had offices in Israel, North America, Japan, Singapore, Korea, China and Taiwan. PrimeSense was bought by Apple Inc. for $360 million on November 24, 2013.

Company Profile[edit]

PrimeSense was a fabless semiconductor company and provided products in the area of sensory inputs for consumer and commercial markets.

PrimeSense's technology had been originally applied to gaming but was later applied in other fields.[1] PrimeSense was best known for licensing the hardware design and chip used in Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing system for the Xbox 360 in 2010.[2]

On November 24, 2013, Apple Inc. confirmed the purchase of PrimeSense for $360 million.[3]


Light Coding Technology[edit]

PrimeSense’s depth acquisition is enabled by "light coding" technology. The process codes the scene with near-IR light, light that returns distorted depending upon where things are. The solution then uses a standard off-the-shelf CMOS image sensor to read the coded light back from the scene using various algorithms to triangulate and extract the 3D data. The product analyses scenery in 3 dimensions with software, so that devices can interact with users.[4][5]


PrimeSense System on a Chip (SoC)[edit]

The CMOS image sensor works with the visible video sensor to enable the depth map provided by PrimeSense SoC’s Carmine (PS1080) and Capri (PS1200) to be merged with the color image. The SoCs perform a registration process so the color image (RGB) and depth (D) information is aligned properly.[6] The light coding infrared patterns are deciphered in order to produce a VGA size depth image of a scene. It delivers visible video, depth, and audio information in a synchronized fashion via the USB 2.0 interface. The SoC has minimal CPU requirements as all depth acquisition algorithms run on the SoC itself.

PrimeSense Sensors[edit]

  • Carmine 1.08
  • Carmine 1.09 (Short Range)
  • Capri 1.25 (embedded)

PrimeSense embeds its technology in its own sensors, the Carmine 1.08 and Carmine 1.09 and the yet to be released Capri 1.25 which will be available as an embedded solution. Capri 1.25, touted by the company as the world's smallest 3D sensor, debuted at International CES 2013.[7]

PrimeSense Middleware[edit]

PrimeSense developed the NiTE Middleware, the software that analyzes the data from the hardware, are the modules for OpenNI providing gesture and skeleton tracking. They are released only as binaries.[8] According to the NiTE Linkedin page: “Including computer vision algorithims, NiTE identifies users and tracks their movements, and provides the framework API for implementing Natural-Interaction UI controls based on gestures.”[9] The system can then interpret specific gestures, making completely hands-free control of electronic devices a reality.[1] Including:

  • Identification of people their body properties, movements and gestures
  • Classification of objects such as furniture
  • Location of walls and floor[5]


PrimeSense's original focus was on the gaming[10] and living room markets,[11] but has since expanded to include:


  • Kinect by Microsoft is powered by PrimeSense technology allows gamers use their entire body to control play, action and movement of their onscreen characters.

PC and Mobile[edit]

  • WAVI Xtion for the PC by ASUS uses PrimeSense's core 3D sensing solution, developed primarily for browsing multimedia content, accessing Web sites and social networks when the PC is hooked up to the living room TV.[12]
  • Structure Sensor Mobile 3D sensor by Occipital uses a custom chip based on PrimeSense's 3D sensing solution. The sensor itself is designed to easily attach to a wide range of devices, including the Apple iPad, Android tablets and desktop platforms such as Windows, OS X and Linux.[13]

Interactive Displays[edit]

  • Firecube SMART by Firecube Public Multimedia: An interactive multimedia solution for games, presentations and attraction in public space.[14]
  • EyePlay by Eyeclick- a interactive video gaming system with 3D interactive projection capabilities.[15]
  • ViiMotion by Covii:an Interactive Software Device, created to provide generic or custom interactive applications through computer vision.[16]
  • Interactive Projector by Ayotle: an interactive solution that uses a depth sensor to make any real or imaginary surface act like a tactile or contactless interactive device.[17]
  • Finger Tracking MW by 3Gear Systems: a precise tracking system using computer graphics algorithms for reconstructing the precise pose of the user’s hands from 3D cameras[18]


  • SmartFit by Styku:a multi-channel retail platform for fit prediction and visualization
  • Bodymetrics pod by Bodymetrics: a full 3D body scanner that is designed to quickly and accurately calculate measurements which are then analyzed and used to find suitable garments.[19]
  • 3D Scanner by Matterport:a low-cost 3D scanner that allows anyone to quickly and easily produce a realistic 3D model.[20]


  • SAMI by Criif: PrimeSense sensors allow the humanoid robot to be fully autonomous in the house or specific environment.[21]


  • Ava by iRobot: an autonomous mobile robotics platform[22]


  • 2005
    • PrimeSense is founded
  • 2010
  • 2011
    • PrimeSense raises a round of private equity funding as part of its plan to expand its motion-control chips[24]
    • PrimeSense is selected by MIT Technology Review for World's Ten Most Important Technologies
  • 2012
    • PrimeSense is selected as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer
    • Announces the launch of its next generation embedded 3D sensor, Capri 1.25
  • 2013


Involvement with OpenNI[edit]

PrimeSense is a founding member of OpenNI, an industry-led, non-profit organization formed to certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware. The original OpenNI project was shutdown by Apple when they bought the opens source software, but Occipital is still keeping a forked version of OpenNI 2 active as an open source software for their Structure SDK for their Structure Product.

Involvement with Microsoft[edit]

The company provided the 3D sensing technology for the first Kinect, previously known as Project Natal.[25][26]


The company was selected by MIT Technology Review magazine as one of world's 50 most innovative companies for 2011.[27]

PrimeSense wins Design Team of the Year in EE Times 2011 Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE)[28]

PrimeSense is honored as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer in 2013.[29]


PrimeSense faces competition from both hardware and software providers:


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ Apple Confirms Acquisition of 3-D Sensor Startup PrimeSense
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
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  12. ^,11874.html
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  25. ^ Gohring, Nancy (29 July 2010). "Mundie: Microsoft's Research Depth Enabled Kinect". PC World. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  26. ^ Corp., Microsoft (10 March 2010). "PrimeSense Supplies 3-D-Sensing Technology to "Project Natal" for Xbox 360". Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ VentureBeat Article: PrimeSense Raises Round for Motion Control Chips
  31. ^ BBC Article: Kinect for Windows gesture sensor launched by Microsoft
  32. ^ Industry Gamers: CES New Technologies for Gaming
  33. ^ 3DFeel Website
  34. ^ AirStrike Website

External links[edit]