Following the news that Apple is looking to acquire local 3D sensor specialist Primesense, Intel has made an Israeli acquisition of its own. According to Geektime, Intel has paid up to $40 million to purchase gesture-recognition and tracking company Omek Interactive, moving its employees over to its perceptual computing division at its development center in Haifa. Intel confirmed the deal to Israeli website The Marker and said that the Omek would help "increase its capabilities in perceptual computing."
While Apple appears to be focused on incorporating Primesense's 3D hardware and software into its products, Intel's interest in Omek is primarily platform based. Instead of developing its own sensors, Omek's strategy has been to "support the widest range of devices," enabling developers to integrate gesture recognition and 3D motion tracking into their apps and even games. The company demonstrated its Windows 8 fingertip gesture control technology at CES earlier this year (video embedded below), demonstrating how users could control the Windows UI by using swipe, pinch, and other subtle gestures.
Omek's technology supports both close-range and long-range body tracking, recognizing gestures from as close as 10cm right up to full body tracking. Earlier this year, Intel said it was working on a new Kinect-like interface for PCs that will recognize users and respond to them. To do this, it is building a small peripheral that can be attached to current-generation computers to add voice, gesture, and face recognition. Intel's acquisition of Omek reaffirms its commitment to perceptual computing, which could help it take on Leap Motion in the battle for widespread adoption.