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Microsoft to acquire gesture control maker Canesta

Canesta, which a year ago took in a $16 million round of funding, makes technology that enables people to control devices using motions instead of hardware interfaces.

Microsoft plans to acquire Canesta, which makes technology that enables human gestures to power devices, the companies said today.

The Microsoft purchase, about which no financial details were disclosed, indicates that "there is little question that within the next decade, we will see natural user interfaces become common for input across all devices," Canesta President and CEO Jim Spare said in a statement. "With Microsoft's breadth of scope from enterprise to consumer products, market presence, and commitment to NUI (natural user interfaces), we are confident that our technology will see wide adoption across many applications that embody the full potential of the technology."

Canesta makes a camera that picks up 3D images, such as a person sitting in front of a laptop, game console, or TV, and enables him or her to use facial expressions or hand gestures to control the device.

Canesta had previously signed an agreement with Hitachi to bring its technology to TVs. Sony has also incorporated Canesta's technology in the EyeToy accessory for the PlayStation. Similar motion control technology at work right now is Microsoft Kinect for the Xbox.

A year ago, Canesta took a $16 million round of funding from several partners, including contract manufacturer Quanta, which has said it would incorporate the technology into laptops.