Sony Corp (ADR)(NYSE:SNE) recently announced that it has acquired a Belgian tech company called Softkinetic Systems.
The acquired firm develops motion detection sensors and cameras which completely lines up with Sony’s plan to focus more on mobile detection sensors. Softkinetic technology is not new to the market. It has been present in many households courtesy of the Xbox One’s Kinect sensor. The company uses a method called time-of-light measurement to measure the distance between an object and the sensor. The technology does this by bouncing off photons from the camera.
The method is different from that used in the Playstation 4 camera because the PS4 detects people in the background through computationally intensive stereoscopic vision techniques. Though the technology has many utilities, Sony expects to take full advantage of them, through its future game console controllers. The acquisition will, therefore, be advantageous to both companies and is expected to feature in more technologies especially in the VR industry.
One of the advantages of the time-of-light sensors is that they can be applied in a much smaller package, unlike the stereoscopic cameras that require a lot of space. The time-of-light sensors can, therefore, be used I small devices such as mobile phones. The technology can also be extended to automobile technology or home entertainment, especially as a gesture control systems.
The level of Softkinetic experience in the field has been employed in other technologies such as its involvement in the Oculus Rift Virtual reality headset. The technology allows VR technology to accommodate gesture control. The Oculus Rift uses the 3D depth-sensing camera to detect the distance between the headset and the wearer’s hand.
Sony claims that the acquisition will be instrumental in its involvement in motion sensors. Sony claims that a combination of its imaging technologies and Softkinetic’s knowledge in range sensors can create new sensors with a broad range of applications. This could be an opportunity for Sony to venture into 3D printing technologies.