|The factual accuracy of parts of this article (those related to "should mention that all sensors as well as the NiTE middleware have vanished from the market after Apple's acquisition; should mention that Capri 1.25 will probably never reach the market, at least not under this name") may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (August 2014)|
|Subsidiary of Apple Inc.|
|Fate||Bought out by Apple Inc.|
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 $350 million on November 24, 2013.
- 1 Company Profile
- 2 Technology
- 3 Markets
- 4 Milestones
- 5 Partners
- 6 Involvement with OpenNI
- 7 Involvement with Microsoft
- 8 Awards
- 9 Competition
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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. 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.
On November 24, 2013, Apple Inc. confirmed the purchase of PrimeSense for $360 million.
Light Coding Technology
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.
PrimeSense System on a Chip (SoC)
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. 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.
- 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.
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. 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.” The system can then interpret specific gestures, making completely hands-free control of electronic devices a reality. Including:
- Identification of people their body properties, movements and gestures
- Classification of objects such as furniture
- Location of walls and floor
- Kinect by Microsoft is powered by PrimeSense technology allows gamers use their entire body to control play, action and movement of their onscreen characters.
- 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.
- 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.
- Firecube SMART by Firecube Public Multimedia: An interactive multimedia solution for games, presentations and attraction in public space.
- EyePlay by Eyeclick- a interactive video gaming system with 3D interactive projection capabilities.
- ViiMotion by Covii:an Interactive Software Device, created to provide generic or custom interactive applications through computer vision.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 3D Scanner by Matterport:a low-cost 3D scanner that allows anyone to quickly and easily produce a realistic 3D model.
- SAMI by Criif: PrimeSense sensors allow the humanoid robot to be fully autonomous in the house or specific environment.
- Ava by iRobot: an autonomous mobile robotics platform
- PrimeSense is founded
- PrimeSense is selected as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer
- Announces the launch of its next generation embedded 3D sensor, Capri 1.25
- PrimeSense demonstrates "A World of 3D Sensing" at the 2013 International CES
- 3Gear Systems
- Willow Garage
- Open Perception
Involvement with OpenNI
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
PrimeSense faces competition from both hardware and software providers:
- Mesa Imaging
- Microsoft acquired 3D sensor technology vendors 3DV and Canesta and released the Kinect for Xbox One using Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology from Canesta
- SoftKinetic offers both a hardware and software solution, similar to PrimeSense based on Time of flight as opposed to PrimeSense which uses Structured light.
- gestigon develops middleware for skeleton recognition and gesture control using multiple sensors, Time of flight and Structured light, and platforms/OS.
- Pmdtechnologies provides long range as well as close range Time of flight sensors
- LM3LABS offers a 3D body tracking middleware called 3DFeel  and a high-precision finger tracking called AirStrike (hardware sensor and software).
- Chiaro Technologies OEM 3D capture technology being developed for industrial 3D machine vision. Structured light and Active stereo.
- Apple Confirms Acquisition of 3-D Sensor Startup PrimeSense
- Gohring, Nancy (29 July 2010). "Mundie: Microsoft's Research Depth Enabled Kinect". PC World. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
- Corp., Microsoft (10 March 2010). "PrimeSense Supplies 3-D-Sensing Technology to "Project Natal" for Xbox 360". Retrieved 2 August 2010.
- VentureBeat Article: PrimeSense Raises Round for Motion Control Chips
- BBC Article: Kinect for Windows gesture sensor launched by Microsoft
- Industry Gamers: CES New Technologies for Gaming
- 3DFeel Website
- AirStrike Website