What Apple intends to do with its recent acquisition of 3D chip maker PrimeSense is turning out to be quite the guessing game. Earlier guesses pointed to a gesture-based TV, but later reports claimed that it was more about indoor-mapping.
A new report by TechCrunch says that the main reason Apple acquired PrimeSense was for its mobile chipset that could let iPhones and iPads sense depth, along with the variety of other sensor data.
Apple could very well be interested in incorporating PrimeSense technology into its TV offerings, in order to recognize gestures for interaction. But when Apple purchases companies it often has both short and long-term goals in mind for their technology.
Specifically, we’re hearing from our sources that Apple was likely interested in a new mobile chipset PrimeSense was developing that would eventually be suited for devices like iPhones and iPads. These chips and accompanying sensor and software tech could be used for a variety of purposes like identity recognition and indoor space mapping.
The applications of knowing the 3D space around the user are quite wide spread, since it opens a whole new way of interacting with computers, enabling hands-free control, gestures etc. A combination of PrimeSense’s tech along with the onboard sensors like location, camera etc. would enable a lot of useful/cool features, one of which, as described by PrimeSense’s VP, is:
“Instead of having to measure my daughter’s height every two weeks, I could just take a picture of her with my smartphone, and it’ll automatically know she’s grown by a few inches based on her profile and previous height.” He offered other potential ideas like a portable gaming device that utilizes motion gestures, a car-docked handset that sounds an alarm when you’re nodding off to sleep mid-drive or simply the ability to scan an object for a 3D printer.
A look at Apple’s previous patents reveal that the company already has ambitious plans that would greatly benefit from PrimeSense’s technology:
Of course, with the Xbox, PrimeSense’s tech has already been proved to be great for TVs, but Apple’s near-term goal would possibly be to bring this tech to iOS devices.