Friday, November 25, 2011
Gentex acquires Intersense
it had acquired Intersense. Gentex makes various military products including helmets, eye protection devices, aluminized fabric and helmet-mounted displays. Intersense makes various inertial trackers.
I've had the pleasure of working with Intersense over several years, where we partnered on delivering virtual reality solutions for academic and defense markets. To many of our customers, Intersense has always been considered the 'gold standard' of tracking, which is why I find this acquisition disappointing.
The financial details of the acquisition were not published, so perhaps this is a big win for the shareholders of Intersense, but I feel the company will now take an even stronger defense focus and will thus miss the bigger consumer product opportunity.
It is ironic that the Intersense acquisition happened just a week after the Invensense IPO (INVN), which values Invensense at some $800M.
Founded in 1996, Intersense makes professional motion sensing products. Motion sensing is becoming more and more commonplace - just look at the Wii or the iPhone. Surely, Intersense had plenty of expertise in sensors and signal processing to offer a compelling low-cost product that builds off Intersense's professional reputation but offers a compelling price point.
As motion tracking became more common, lower-cost solutions started to appear. For instance, Sensics offers an integrated three degree of freedom (yaw/pitch/roll) head tracker inside the zSight professional HMD. Though the performance of the embedded tracker is not as good an Intersense IC-3, for instance, we found that for many customers it was good enough and saved them the need to pay a couple of thousand dollars for an external tracker. Intersense could have probably easily offered this lower-cost tracker, but they did not. Missed opportunity, I think, both for Intersense and for the market.
Good luck to the excellent team at Intersense, in whatever market you choose to serve!