Sony acquires time-of-flight tracking specialist Softkinetic Systems

October 8, 2015 // 12:13 p.m.

Tags: #brussels #north-west-studio #playstation #playstation-vr #project-morpheus #softkinetic-systems #sony #time-of-flight #tof #virtual-reality #vr

Sony is continuing its headlong rush into the burgeoning virtual reality market, splashing an undisclosed sum on the acquisition of hand-tracking specialist Softkinetic Systems.

Based in Brussels, the 77-strong Softkinetic Systems has made a name for itself for a high-accuracy time-of-flight distance-tracking system. Based on tracking the time it takes light to leave an emitter, bounce off an object, and return to the image sensor, ToF technology has particular uses for augmented reality and virtual reality applications - in particular for tracking the user, including hands and fingers, and integrating that distance and positioning data into the virtual world.

Sony, of course, has been investing heavily in virtual reality of late. The company unveiled the Project Morpheus VR platform in March last year, announcing back in September that it would be launched as PlayStation VR. The company is also looking to support the headset with plenty of content, funding a new British games studio which will be dedicated to creating PlayStation VR games and other content.

Sony has confirmed that it plans to run Softkinetic Systems as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and will integrate the company's ToF technology into its own product lines - likely to include PlayStation VR. The acquisition comes, however, during a cost-saving corporate restructure amid rumours that the company is to leave the smartphone business.
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