Canesta Purchased By Microsoft: Natural Interfaces Coming To Windows?

Microsoft's clearly interested in motion sensing. The Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360 is proof of that. But things may not be stopping in the gaming world. It's clear that user interfaces are changing. Apple has already introduced a Magic Trackpad for desktop use, and a bunch of new touch panel all-in-one machines are on the market. And with tablets, we're using our fingers more than ever rather than mice and keyboards.

Microsoft knows that the industry won't remain the same forever, and they're making acquisitions to make sure they're ahead of the curve. Recently, the company picked up Canesta, a well-known outfit responsible for technology that makes 3D motion sensing work with lots of devices and applications. Their tech makes Natural User Interfaces possible, and it seems that the two companies agree that NUI is the future. No details of the acquisition were made public, but it's expected to be wrapped up by the year's end. It will definitely give Microsoft an easier way to integrate natural interfaces into their future Windows releases, and it may be about time to start kissing your mouse and keyboard goodbye. Motion is definitely the way of the future, and Microsoft's latest company purchase all but confirms it.


SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA – October 29, 2010 – Canesta, Inc. today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to have its products, technology, intellectual property, customer contracts, and other resources acquired by the Microsoft Corporation. Canesta is a leader in 3-D sensing technologywhich is critical to making Natural User Interfaces (NUI) possible.

According to Jim Spare, Canesta president and CEO, “This is very exciting news for the industry. There is little question that within the next decade we will see natural user interfaces become common for input across all devices. With Microsoft’s breadth of scope from enterprise to consumer products, market presence, and commitment to NUI, we are confident that our technology will see wide adoption across many applications that embody the full potential of the technology.”

Canesta is the inventor of a leading single chip 3-D sensing technology platform and a large body of intellectual property. With 44 patents granted to date and dozens more on file, the company has made breakthroughs in many areas critical to enabling natural user interfaces broadly across many platforms. Some of these include the invention of standard CMOS 3-D sensing pixels, fundamental innovations in semiconductor device physics, mixed-signal IC chip design, optics, signal processing algorithms, and computer vision software.

No details of the agreement have been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of this year.

About Canesta
Canesta ( is the inventor of revolutionary, low cost electronic perception technology and leading provider of single chip CMOS 3-D sensors that fundamentally change the relationship between devices and their users. This capability makes possible true 3-D perception as input to everyday devices, rather than the widely understood 3-D representational technologies as output. Canesta’s 3-D input technology, based upon tiny, CMOS 3-D imaging chips or “sensors”, enables fine-grained, 3-dimensional depth-perception in a wide range of applications. Products based on this capability can then react on sight to the actions or motions of individuals and objects in their field of view, gaining levels of functionality and ease of use that were simply not possible in an era when such devices were blind. Canesta’s focus is on mass market consumer electronics, but many applications exist in other markets as well. Canesta is located in Sunnyvale, CA. The company has filedin excess of fifty patents, 44 of which have been granted so far.

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