It has been announced that processor giant Intel has finalized negotiations with Israeli company Omek International and acquired their gesture computing technology. The price tag? A cool $40 million, making it an expensive and surprising takeover.
During a time when most brands are focusing on touch screen technology and making it faster and more intuitive, Intel has taken a step in a totally different direction. Omek specializes in gesture compatibility for high powered devices.
They have two flagship projects: The Beckon, which is used for gaming and television ala full body gesture tracking, and The Grasp, a brand new development that works at close ranges and is being marketed for PC and hand devices. There are even some whispers about it being applied to automotive products like GPS and satellite radio.
So what is Intel doing buying up a gesture computing firm?
“The acquisition of Omek Interactive will help increase Intel’s capabilities in the delivery of more immersive perceptual computing experiences,” Intel told Venture Beat.
In other words, they are trying to expand their reach as other companies begin to turn their eyes to other horizons, such as wearable technology and 3D compatibility. Intel wants to jump on this particular trend when other brands are distracted.
All of this first came to light last year when Intel claimed to be working on acquiring a technology similar to the Kinect, but for PCs. When I first heard that I could only roll my eyes. But, in my defense, I really hate the Kinect.
Finally seeing what they were talking about, and having heard about Omek before, I am pleasantly surprised. The demo videos showing off The Grasp in particular have been impressive. The flow is smooth, the gestures are intuitive, and the setup of software to work with it seems solid.
Not that this is likely to have the most practical application in the beginning. But it could be a positive sign for the evolution of gesture computing in the future, and seems to be a much better investment for the long term than wearable devices will be.
How will this be incorporated into gaming and PC use over time? It’s hard to say, but if any company can help bring out the potential of this technology I think it is Intel. Plus, I am sure they were aching for an excuse to bring out another chip processor that was more advanced than the device itself calls for.
Source: Venture Beat