XTR’s motion capture technology not just fun and games
CEO and co-founder Dor Givon aims to place his Herzliya firm’s software on every end-user device, from phones to tablets to TVs.
By GLOBES/ TZAHI HOFFMAN
The television, mobile telephone, and computer are moments away from a revolution.But it won’t be 3D technology making waves; movement- based technology is the one making its first steps in the market.The pioneer of the transformation is Israeli firm Prime- Sense, which developed the technology that is used in the Kinect camera, and which allows games on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console to be played through body movement, without use of a joystick or controller.But now there appears to be another player that wants to join the process – Israeli startup Extreme Reality Ltd. (XTR), which has also developed motion capture technology, but which aims mainly at cell phones, laptops, and other daily uses.XTR CEO and co-founder Dor Givon said, “We want to place our software on every end-user device. Most of the activities that people do with their television are simple, and so our technology can replace the remote control in carrying them out.”Herzliya Pituah-based XTR employs 30 people. It is currently trying to raise $5-10 million in a third funding round, which will include venture capital funds and strategic investors. XTR has already raised $7 million in its two previous funding rounds, with investors including Texas Instruments (TI), Larry Joffe, the Office of the Chief Scientist, and other private investors.The collaboration with Texas Instruments, which is developing an application processor for cellular telephones, has big potential to be a springboard for advancing the platform in the cellular world, since it decided to integrate XTR’s technology in its OMAP application processor.AdvertisementFor those who play with the Kinect, the ability to control the game through movement no longer sounds like fantasy.But in contrast to the Xbox, where the technology is geared primarily toward entertainment needs, putting the new tech in telephones will lead to easier control of them, and minimum interruption of a user’s concentration while driving. In addition, the technology will be inserted into tablet computers, so that users will be able to operate them even when their hands are dirty – such as, for example, when they are eating breakfast and want to read a newspaper on their tablet.There is no lack of other applications that can make users’ life easier. XTR plans by the end of the year to put its technology into computers and televisions of well-known manufacturers. That will allow people to put down the remote control in the living room and begin to control the television with only their hands.Givon’s sales strategy is based on the fact that manufacturers do not need to spend a lot in order to put the new technology into their products, since it only includes software and is based on existing hardware.“Our software uses very little power and very little memory from the device on which it is used. The manufacturer only needs to add the program to its product, and the cost for manufacturers is low.”In addition, XTR has developed a program known as IZI, which allows any user to define a specific movement for an action. For example, a turning fist can be used to adjust volume.“The user will be able to learn every action in ten seconds,” says Givon. The company’s technology is well-suited, of course, for the gaming world as well, where, like the Kinect, the market is now learning to transfer its content to movement- based action.“Through our technology, it’s possible to make the birds from Angry Birds zoom with your fingers in the air,” says Givon.XTR was founded in 2005.According to its CFO, Eduardo Printac, it plans to become profitable by 2013. At the same time, the company does not rule out a future exit.“The company has incredible abilities; we are working on getting our products to market. If somebody can actualize these technologies, we are happy to look into collaboration.”
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