The optical rebirth is in full effect and JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ:JDSU) is, once again, a key player. The proliferation of streaming video and wireless communications has created a huge demand for JDSU optical gear. Shares of the Silicon Valley company have climbed to multi-year highs after releasing a quarterly earnings report that far exceeded analyst forecasts.
The two largest U.S. phone companies, AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), are in the midst of building next generation fiber networks. "We think this will be the strongest demand cycle for optical since the 1998-2000 time frame," declared Miller Tabak & Co. in a research note issued earlier this month.
JDSU wants to avoid a repeat of its infamous meltdown in the aftermath of the bursting of the tech bubble in early 2000. So its has diversified. The emerging gesture recognition technology is the centerpiece of the company's diversification efforts.
JDSU has an investor day slated for February 17 to talk about the growth of its gesture recognition business. There are unconfirmed reports that JDSU supplies optical parts for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) popular Kinect gaming unit, which is based on gesture recognition.
"Gesture recognition in gaming is getting a lot of visibility, but we see this thing expanding," said JDSU chief executive Thomas Waechter. "We think there's a lot of opportunity in interfacing with TV sets, interfacing with PCs; home lighting and security, automotive and military. It's getting set up to expand into a lot of areas."
A JDSU gesture recognition demo explains how optical components are used in a video game to create a 3D image of a player. The body movements of this avatar are captured by an infrared light sensor in the console of a TV set when playing interactive games.
Dance Central is a very popular Kinect game that uses this technology.
PrimeSense is one of the leading developers of gesture recognition technology. The Israeli company uses JDSU lasers and optical filters. A PrimeSense video demonstrates how next generation home entertainment systems will incorparate its gesture recognition platform.
A prototype robotic scrub nurse that is controlled with gesture recognition technology is being developed at Purdue University. The school has released a video related to their gesture recognition research.
eyeSight has developed gesture recognition for use with mobile devices, such has cell phones, tablets and personal computers.