Sony purchases 3D sensor maker SoftKinect, could implement technology in PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR

Sony has announced it’s acquired Belgium-based SoftKinect, the maker of 3D sensing technology that’s very similar to the hardware featured in Microsoft’s Xbox One motion sensor, Kinect.

The company hasn’t revealed the cost of the acquisition but says it likely won’t have an impact on its upcoming financial results set to be released when the fiscal year ends on March 31, 2016.

SoftKinect’s “time-of-flight” image sensor measures the distance between a sensor, light source and a physical object, all by detecting the period of time it takes light to move between these sources. This is also striking similar to how the technology powering Microsoft’s Kinect operates.

It’s unclear how Sony intends to use SoftKinect’s technology, but it will likely be implemented in the company’s upcoming VR headset, PlayStation VR (formerly known as Project Morpheus), giving the headset the ability to track subtle gestures.

Alternatively the tech could find its way into Sony’s AR SmartEyeglasses, or possibly even the next version of Sony’s PlayStation 4 PlayStation Camera, although this possibility is unlikely.

SoftKinect has collaborated with Sony in the past to bring 3D gesture recognition to the PlayStation 4’s PlayStation Camera.

Sony’s PlayStation VR is one of many VR headsets expected to launch in 2016. Other devices include Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive and the consumer edition of Samsung’s GearVR.