Sony acquires image sensor company Softkinetic

AUTHOR: Inavate

Sony has acquired Belgian company Softkinetic Systems in its push to develop range image sensors and integrate features such as gesture recognition into its products. The company announced last week that it had completed the deal after reaching an agreement with Softkinetic and its major shareholders. Softkinetic offers a DepthSense range including sensors, cameras and modules and other products offering gesture tracking, contextual awareness and 3D data acquisition.

Softkinetic, developers of the time-of-flight ("ToF") range image sensor technology, as well as related systems and software, has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony through the deal. ToF is a method for resolving the distance to an object.

ToF distance measurement pixels, which are laid on top of the sensor in two dimensions, measure the flight time (delay) it takes for light to leave the light source, reflect off the object, and return to the image sensor. Sony will focus on combining Softkinetic's ToF range image sensor technology expertise with its own technologies with the aim of developing the next generation of range image sensors and products, not only in the field of imaging, but for broader sensing-related applications as well.

Softkinetic has 77 employees and has offices in Brussels, Belgium and Sunnyvale in California in the US.

No material impact is anticipated on Sony's consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016 as a result of the acquisition.