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Apple buys PrimeSense; more 3-D motion sensor features coming?

Apple buys PrimeSense; more 3-D motion sensor features coming?
Apple has confirmed its acquisition of PrimeSense, an Israeli company that specializes in making computer chips used for 3-D motion sensing. (PrimeSense)

Apple has confirmed its acquisition of PrimeSense, an Israel-based company that specializes in making chips used in 3-D motion sensors.

The move may signal Apple's plans to increase use of the technology that allows gestures to control functions on devices.

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So far, PrimeSense's biggest claim to fame is helping Microsoft create the Kinect, a 3-D motion sensor for the Xbox.

Apple was rumored to have purchased PrimeSense last week, but it has just now been confirmed by the two companies.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple told Reuters.

Neither Apple nor PrimeSense have said how much the deal was worth, but reports out of Israel say it may be worth $350 million.

For now, Apple has pushed lightly into motion-sensing technology. The latest iPhones are capable of some motion sensor features, but they don't come turned on by default.

Those features are also not nearly as capable as ones found on the Samsung Galaxy S 4, which has a whole slew of features that can be performed with motion gestures in front of the device's screen.

Apple's acquisition comes amid the debut this year of Leap Motion, a device that lets users control their desktop or laptop computer with hand gestures.

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