Qualcomm invests in gesture controls

Qualcomm is gearing up to take on Microsoft’s successful Kinect gaming control sensor, after snapping up IP from gesture recognition technology developer GestureTek.
The CDMA pioneer plans to incorporate the IP in current and next-generation Snapdragon processors, in a move it claims will allow manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and home entertainment devices to develop user interfaces that respond to natural human gestures, such as a move of the head or hand.
Steve Mollenkopf, executive vice president and group president of Qualcomm, says the acquisition will strengthen the firm’s “smartphone product portfolio and enable our customers to launch products with new and compelling user experiences.”
The move also allows Qualcomm to keep pace with developments to applications processors that are “enabling a range of new ways for consumers to interface with their home entertainment and mobile devices,” Mollenkopf adds.
GestureTek has a 25 year heritage in gesture-based controls, and already licenses its patents to firms including Microsoft – for its Xbox 360 -, NTT DoCoMo and Sony, PC Mag states.
While Qualcomm plans to use the GestureTek IP in smartphones, games console controllers will represent a useful additional market for the technology if Microsoft’s experience with its Kinect controller is anything to go by. The software giant sold 2.4 million of the sensors in its fiscal 3Q11 – calendar 2Q – bringing total shipments to 10.4 million since the device launched in November 2010.