Friday, January 23, 2009

Gesture Tek's Viral Marketing Push

GestureTek's prime licensee, Reactrix went belly up last month.

They have put up three videos in the past 48 hours...looks like they are out trying to generate new work.

To my understanding, core chunks of Gesturetek's IP expire this year. [GestureTek just contacted me to say this is in fact innaccurate. I look forward to getting to the bottom of this. Special thanks to Patti from G-Tek for keeping us honest] It will be interesting to see what the market does with them.

Looking at these videos and the blog-o-sphere, it seems that a Gesturetek/Adobe/Nuigroup/Google consortium may be form to compete with the boys from Redmond. Is this true?

Do clients want the size flexibility of open-source custom tables over the standardized safety of Surface-like devices?


  1. they could buy the patents for sale by reactrix sherwood partners. that is really the only thing valuable in the receivership! or as you say---belly up-ness

  2. My little bird says that the Gesturetek patents are actually expiring early next year.

    Per the Reactrix IP. It's very limited and pretty weak.

  3. well that is true. everything about Reactrix was weak especially the CEO Mike Ribero who spent more than $100 million of investor's cash!

  4. I've only met Mike Ribero twice, so I can't speak to that assertion. Apparently, the patents were meant more to hem in Gesturetek than as a path to liquidity.

    To be fair. It was less clear that a network of floor-based interactives in malls was a flawed idea in 2003-5. The folks who ponied up for that last round should have known better though.

    Market timing is so critical in the tech market that when competition moves from innovation to IP ownership, the small players always lose.

    In this case, it appears that Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Co. will walk off with the pie while the combatants eat $100 million.

  5. Mike Ribero is a consummate salesman with no clue how to operate a business. Not a bad nor unusual combination for an early-stage startup CEO, but he's not one you'd want to keep in that role for too long. (Reactrix: oops!)

    I don't understand how GTek gets so much credit. Reactrix's patents were certainly not for hemming in GTek; GTek does that well enough on their own. GTek has some good patents in scattered areas that are useful for creating demoware. They're both insufficient and unnecessary for real production systems. Reactrix didn't even bother to make use of the patents it licensed from GTek; that whole business was legal smoke and mirrors.

    Reactrix had solid IP around making robust vision systems, but nothing revolutionary or major. For most, its IP portfolio would just be a valuable addition to bolster an existing collection. They might have some useful bits buried in there -- they actually had a decent Surface-like prototype at around the same time Microsoft did (2002-ish, I think?), but sat on it so they could chase their mall network silliness.

    I agree, the mall network seemed like it made sense 2003-5 -- but even then, Reactrix shouldn't have tried to swallow the whole elephant at once. They might even have made it if they had partnered instead of trying and failing to do everything themselves.

    (Note: yes, I was involved in all this, so I'm far from an objective 3rd party. But I have no axe to grind.)

  6. @ Anonymous

    It's clear that Reactrix lost investor confidence for a range of reasons. I'm glad to continue the conversation about facts and about solutions.

    Mike may or may not be an idiot, but that's really a subject for another forum.

    Please hit me via email. I'd actually like to continue a more private conversation about a couple of things.


  7. Thanks for following GestureTek, the inventor of video gesture control technology and the world leader for over 20 years. We were sad to see Reactrix go under, but to clarify, Reactrix did not license GestureTek technology. They needed to license our patents in order to practice in this space, as many companies do.

    Glad to see you noticed three recent YouTube postings of our 3D depth tracking and control technology and our multi-touch tables in the New York City Visitors Centre and T-Mobile stores. These are great examples of GestureTek's gesture recognition technology being used in the real world, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. GestureTek produces an average of 20 installations per month around the world.

    With regards to our patents, it will be quite some time before the earliest of our patents expires. We have nearly a dozen patents coverage video gesture control technology, with many more on the way.

  8. Actually don't worry guys. Video camera based manipulation of software/hardware was patented in the 80s -> expired dudes..

    Gesturetek ('Leader in bs') just wants to scare you off.