Intel Acquires Omek Interactive Gesture Control Startup for $50 Million

Apparently Intel has joined a growing list of companies interested in motion sensing and gesture control technology. More than just a passing fancy, the Santa Clara chip maker acquired Omek Interactive, a venture-backed technology firm that develops advanced motion sensing software for human-computer interaction.

Omek Interactive's flagship product is its Beckon Development Suit, which takes raw data provided by 3D cameras and analyzes it for information about the scene being viewed. Utilizing computer vision techniques, the software identifies humans in the scene and separates them from the background. After that, it applies an initial basic skeletal framework to each human in the scene and enhances them with a full inverse kinematic skeleton model. Each joint in the skeleton can then be tracked as it moves and rotates in a 3D environment.

"The acquisition of Omek Interactive will help increase Intel's capabilities in the delivery of more immersive perceptual computing experiences," Intel said in a statement to VentureBeat.

Motion Control

Intel declined to disclose terms of the deal, though word on the web is that it paid between $30 million and $50 million for the acquisition. Both Qualcomm and Samsung were also said to be interested in buying Omek Interactive, though they may have been outbid by Intel.

Motion sensing technology is gaining the attention of major firms. In addition to Intel spending tens of millions of dollars on Omek Interactive, Apple is said to be seriously interested in acquiring PrimeSense, another Israeli motion sensing firm. PrimeSense is best known for licensing the hardware design and chip used in Microsoft's first generation Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360.