Imagine the Wii with 3D vision. The console would understand if you were behind an object and images would move accordingly and you could reach out with your hand to “touch” items on the screen. The technology is real and it works and PrimeSense, a small Israeli company, is trying to release it into the wild.
PrimeSense, which just closed a $20 million funding round led by Canaan Partners with lead investors Gemini Israel Funds (who also provided the seed funding) and Genesis Partners. The company is moving out of development into sales.
The system basically uses a 3D camera to see objects in space. The result is a completely immersive experience without controllers, something some gamers have been looking for for years.
Will you ever buy PrimeSense controllers for your PS3? Probably not. I suspect they’ll sell the technology before going into production simply because the big boys will be able to integrate it more fully into their consoles rather than a peripheral. Gaming is a hard industry to crack and this, unlike the Eyetoy for the PlayStation series, sounds a bit complex.
Look for PrimeSense on a console game box near you sometime soon — I wouldn’t hold your breath, however, because they promised working hardware in 2006 — and/or look for a sale of IP. Also look for kids waving their arms manically at big screen televisions.