Qualcomm buys GestureTek gesture-recognition tech for Snapdragon

Qualcomm has acquired a bundle of gesture recognition technologies from developer GestureTek, promising to integrate the systems into current and future Snapdragon chipsets. While the exact technologies in question are not specified – Qualcomm only says "certain intellectual property assets related to gesture recognition, as well as key engineering resources" – the systems are likely to allow for motion-based control of future smartphones, tablets and home entertainment devices, similar to what Microsoft's Kinect offers on the Xbox 360.

"Applications processors are enabling a range of new ways for consumers to interface with their home entertainment and mobile devices. Our acquisition of key technology and assets from GestureTek will strengthen Qualcomm's smartphone product portfolio and enable our customers to launch products with new and compelling user experiences" Steve Mollenkopf, executive vice president and group president, Qualcomm

Many of GestureTek's publicly-known products are designed for large-scale digital signage, interactive display and advertising. For instance, the company offers a Microsoft Surface-rivaling multitouch table, the GestTable, as well as a clear multitouch display wall, the Illuminate.

However, we've also seen GestureTek demonstrate its gesture-recognition technology back at IDF 2010 (as shown in the video below), using camera tracking to monitor hand-movement and navigate UIs and games. With an increasing number of smartphones and tablets offering front-facing cameras, they could be used to remotely control the device while it's on the table or docked in your car's dashboard.

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We'll have to wait and see exactly what Qualcomm does with the GestureTek technology, and whether manufacturers choose to implement it into future Snapdragon-based products. Meanwhile, Snapdragon-based "home entertainment devices" could replicate some of Kinect's functionality with support at the chipset level, and given Google TV is Android-based that could have interesting implications for how we control our multimedia consumption from the couch.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]