Microsoft Kinect: The startup behind the technology

By Editor June 14, 2010

The web is abuzz this morning about Microsoft’s Kinect launch event (or should we call it a “hype event”) last night.  So far it has been the highlight of the E3 video games show in L.A. (which officially opens today), and takes motion gaming, popularized by Nintendo’s Wii, to a whole new level with body-motion emulation—no “wand” controller needed.

The technology behind Kinect comes from Microsoft’s acquisition last year of 3DV Systems, a Portland, Oregon-based startup.  3DV pioneered the use of a 3D, motion sensing camera system, which it called the ZCam.  As of the end of 2008 when the acquisition happened, the camera was still in its development stage—apparently Microsoft is now close to having it market-ready.

According to reports, 3DV had raised about $38.5 million in funding, and Microsoft purchased the company for $30 to $35 million.  3DV’s investors included Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and RDC Rafael Development Corp.

There are several other startups working on similar technology, we’ll no doubt hear more about these companies in the coming months with Microsoft raising the ante in the game console world.