Walking into the local Fry's stores in Silicon Valley during Christmas shopping season, I was fascinated by the latest Xbox 360 demo complete with excited kids dancing in front of a big screen wth a 3D sensor mounted on top of it.
Upon closer examination, I learned that Microsoft Xbox 360 has acquired a few new game-changing tricks thanks to the use of the amazing 3D gensture recognition technology from Canesta
, a company co-founded in 2002 by my Pakistani-American friend Nazim Kareemi in Silicon Valley. Cyrus Bamji, an Indian-American, and Abbas Rafii, an Iranian-American, are the other members of the Canesta founding team.
Just before Christmas 2010, Microsoft started shipping Kinect, a $150 add-on for its Xbox gaming consoles, which uses gesture recognition to allow people to play games with body motions instead of controllers. Players work through menus with hand gestures and then move to make their on-screen avatars run, jump, duck, swing and dance. In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer liked the technology so much that he decided to buy Canesta. Canesta has already secured 44 patents in this area and has more pending.
Microsoft and its partners are now in a position to revolutionize natural user interfaces for personal computers, televisions, cars, cellphones, cameras and other devices with gesture recognition capability acquired through Canesta's purchase. Other uses of the technology include enhancing automobile safety by detecting obstacles and recognizing the size and body shape of a person in a seat and adjust the way an air bag inflates.
While Nazim stands out as a serial high-tech entrepreneur with PenWare (1992), Canesta (1999) and Mixamo (2009) to his credit, there are thousands of other entrepreneurs and high-tech professionals of Pakistani origin who have made significant contributions in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in North America and Europe. Hundreds of them gather each summer at OPEN Forum
organized by the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in Silicon Valley
OPEN Forum 2010
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Pakistani-American Elected Mayor
Fighting Poverty Through Microfinance in Pakistan
Silicon Valley Summit of Pakistani Entrepreneurs
Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry
Media and Telecom Sectors Growing in Pakistan
Pakistan's Middle Class Growth in 1999-2009
Social Entrepreneurs Target India, Pakistan