Sony Acquires SoftKinetic - A Company That Makes Kinect-Like Depth Sensors

Sony Corporation has recently acquired SoftKinetic Systems, a Belgian-based start-up known for specializing in 3-D sensing computer vision such as Kinect-like depth-sensing camera, gesture tracking middleware and CMOS depth chips. The move by the PlayStation maker aims to beef up the company's soon-to-arrive PlayStation VR headset to bring more into the gaming table.

The Japanese tech giant announced on Oct. 8 that it has completed the acquisition of SoftKinetic Systems S.A. and has now become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony. SoftKinetic possesses time-of-flight (ToF) range image sensor technology -- a method known for resolving the distance to an object.

SoftKinetic once provided the technology used by rhythm game Just Dance for the Sony PlayStation and 3-D scanners for 3-D printer MakerBot. The move will expectedly give Sony the useful knowledge boost in the growing Virtual Reality market.

"Sony will focus on combining SoftKinetic's ToF range image sensor technology expertise with its own technologies with the aim of developing the next generation of range image sensors and solutions, not only in the field of imaging, but for broader sensing-related applications as well," said the company in a press release.

Sony Corp has a pair of Augmented Reality in development called the SmartEyeglass which was unveiled last year to compete with the likes of smartglasses such as the Google Glass by the search engine giant and HoloLens by Microsoft. The Japanese conglomerate is also working on its virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR which was previously known as Project Morpheus. SoftKinetic's 3-D technologies would most likely be applied to add and improve the Sony's products in its roadmap.

Sony did not disclose how much they have shelled out to purchase SoftKinetic, but the company said that 'no material impact is anticipated' on their consolidated financial results for the fiscal year as a result of the acquisition.

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