InterDigital Snaps Up Hillcrest Labs

Hillcrest Labs, the company behind a “sensor processing” and navigation technology called “Freespace” that's used in a wide range of smart TVs and other consumer electronics devices, has been acquired by InterDigital Inc.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Hillcrest and its team of about 40 employees will remain based in Rockville, Md., and join InterDigital, they said.

Founded in 2001 by Dan Simpkins, Hillcrest’s customers have included LG Electronics, Samsung, Universal Electronics, Hisense, Lenovo, ZTE, Coolpad, Roku, LeEco, and Sony, among others.

RELATED: Hisense Builds in Hillcrest

In 2013, Hillcrest became the first vendor with motion control technology to license the Reference Design Kit (RDK), the preintegrated software platform for IP and hybrid gateways and set-tops that’s being managed by Comcast, Liberty Global and Charter Communications.Earlier in its history, Hillcrest developed a browser optimized for TVs called Kylo that drew some attention from Hulu. In 2009, Hillcrest and Nintendo settled a patent lawsuit that Hillcrest had filed in 2008 pertaining to technologies used to power controls for Nintendo’s Wii gaming consoles.

“Hillcrest Labs is driving some of the foundational innovation in sensors and sensor fusion, a technology that is already important today, and poised to become pervasive in a broad range of consumer electronic products including smartphones, AR and VR systems, wearables, and service robots, among others,” InterDigital’s CEO William J. Merritt said in a statement. “Their customer base features some of the top electronics companies worldwide, and adding them to the InterDigital team broadens our offering for mobile devices and accelerates our technology footprint in markets that are adjacent to our existing position.”