Apple in talks to buy Israel's 3D-sensor company PrimeSense

Technology giant Apple Inc is in early stage talks to buy Israel's 3D-sensor company PrimeSense, for $280 million, local newspaper Calcalist today reported, citing people familiar with the negotiations.

Apple's engineering executives had visited PrimeSense in early July, the report said, and added that the iPhone maker was interested in buying the company rather than licensing its services.

Founded in 2005 by Aviad Maizels, Alexander Shpunt, Ophir Sharon, Tamir Berliner and Dima Rais, PrimeSense, has been backed by venture capitalists, including Canaan Partners, Silver Lake Sumeru, Gemini Israel Funds and Genesis Partners

PrimeSense has developed 3D sensing technology that gives digital devices the ability to observe a scene in three dimensions. It translates these observations into a synchronised image stream just like humans do. It then takes those synchronised images and translates them into information.

This technology has been used mainly in gaming devices like in Microsoft's Xbox Kinect, but is now being applied in other fields.

Powered by PrimeSense technology, Kinect allows gamers use their entire body to control play, action and movement of their onscreen characters.

The Tel Aviv-based company claims that its technology is already in over 20 million households worldwide and can now be used in the TV, healthcare, mobile, retail, industrial and other industries.

Apple carried out its first acquisition in Israel in 2012 when it bought flash storage technology company Anobit in a reported $500 million deal. (See: Apple acquires Israel's flash storage firm Anobit for around $500 mn)