JDSU gets boost from video game technology

JDSU's Santa Rosa-based optical coating business is getting a boost from gesture recognition, a technology used in Microsoft's fast-selling Kinect system for the Xbox 360 video game platform.

Gesture recognition lets a player control the action with a wave of a hand or other body movement, eliminating the need for a remote control device.

Although JDSU won't identify individual customers, technology analysts say its optical filters and other components are part of the Kinect system, which has sold more than 10 million units worldwide since Microsoft launched it last November.

"We continue to gain traction in the gesture recognition market," JDSU chief executive Tom Waechter told Wall Street analysts Wednesday.

The company's shares soared in after-hours trading after Milpitas-based JDSU reported a quarterly profit of $38.6 million on $454 million in company-wide sales.

Gesture recognition is a small part of JDSU's business, accounting for less than 4 percent of revenue, Waechter said. But it has potential applications far beyond gaming, including interfacing with TVs and computers, controlling home lighting and security and directing automotive functions, the company said.

"It's still in its infancy," Waechter said Wednesday.

JDSU's optical coatings are incorporated in Kinect to filter out unwanted motion while capturing a player's movement, according to analysts. Another JDSU division makes a diode light source for the system.

Last year, JDSU opened a production facility in China to manufacture precision optical coatings for 3D, gesture recognition, theater projection and sensing applications.

The company's Santa Rosa-based Advanced Optical Technologies business reported $56.8 million in sales for the quarter ending April 2, up 4 percent from the prior quarter but down 3 percent from the same period last year.

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