PrimeSense is an Israeli 3D sensing company based in Tel Aviv. PrimeSense has offices in Israel, North America, Japan, Singapore, Korea, China and Taiwan. PrimeSense was bought by Apple Inc. for $350 million on November 24, 2013.
PrimeSense is a fabless semiconductor company and provides products in the area of sensory inputs for consumer and commercial markets.
PrimeSense's technology was originally applied to gaming but is now being applied in other fields. PrimeSense is 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.
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.
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 1.09 (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
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.
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.