Sony Acquires Belgian 3D Sensor Firm SoftKinetic

Continuing its efforts to focus on its successful image sensor business, Sony announced today that it has completed the acquisition of SoftKinetic Systems for an undisclosed amount. The eight-year-old, Belgium-based business develops 3D vision technology for gaming, imaging and other applications.

Among the SoftKinetic technologies Sony is interested is the "time-of-flight" range image sensors, which use light to determine distances to objects. Sony said that it plans to combine that sensor technology with its own to develop "the next generation of range image sensors and solutions," according to a statement released today.

While not revealing how much it paid for the company, Sony said its acquisition of SoftKinetic is not expected to have any "material impact" on its financial results for the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2016. SoftKinetic is expected to continue operations as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony.

Potential for VR Tech

The addition of SoftKinetic's technology to Sony's lineup will likely benefit the latter company's virtual-reality ambitions. Last month, for example, Sony Computer Entertainment revealed that its next-generation gaming system would be called the "PlayStation VR."

"We will continue to refine the hardware from various aspects, while working alongside third-party developers and publishers and SCE Worldwide Studios, in order to bring content that deliver exciting experiences only made possible with VR," said EVP Masayasu Ito, division president of the PlayStation Product Business and vice president of the Software Design Division, in a statement at that time.

As Microsoft recent plans for the HoloLens holographic computing system indicate, virtual-reality and augmented-reality technologies also promise new capabilities in areas such as architectural design and education. The HoloLens itself is an offshoot of Microsoft's development of Kinect, the motion-sensing technology the company first introduced for the Xbox 360 gaming system in 2010.

IoT, Industrial and Auto Apps

Beyond gaming, VR...

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