Over the weekend, Apple confirmed that it acquired 3D sensor company PrimeSense. The Tel Aviv company is best known for its work on Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, but that’s not all the company is involved in. Its technology can be used in everything from computers to healthcare, which opens the door for Apple to enter new markets and expand opportunity in current areas of investment. Now that Apple has PrimeSense and its technology under its umbrella, we can look at company’s current innovations and speculate how they can help Apple compete in the mobile business and beyond. The most obvious application is in the Apple TV or another similar TV-focused product. It’s possible that Apple would look to take PrimeSense’s motion sensing technology and adapt it for its own Apple TV product. This would allow the box or similar TV product recognize the users in front of it and control the TV appropriately. When it detects children, it could block access to mature programming and turn on the cartoons, for example.
iOS devices are another area of potential application, with the company’s newest 3D sensor, the Capri, taking center stage. The Capri includes a system-on-a-chip that is small enough to fit inside mobile phones, tablets and PCs. The Capri can scan an environment in 3D, map the entire location and create a virtual representation of the area. This data can then be used for interactive games, indoor mapping and more. Apple could embed this sensor in a Mac, iPad or iPhone and then allows developers to tap into this technology via an API.
Last but not least is the retail sector, which could see the introduction of touchless, interactive displays. PrimeSense Technology has been used in healthcare to provide touchless displays in medical equipment. This allows nurses and doctors to access information without contaminating a screen by touching it. PrimeSense says that its “Almost Touch” concept utilizes the PrimeSense 3D sensor’s ability to see the space between the user and display; enabling users to interact with the display without ever touching it.”The same technology could be embedded into Apple retail stores to detect customers as they approach a device and interact with it without the customer touching a key or tapping a screen. Apple is looking to improve its retail experience with iBeacons, and these touchless screen could fit right in with this initiative.
Apple reportedly bought PrimeSense for $345 million after several months of negotiation. The company is based in Tel Aviv, with offices in Taiwan and the US.