Imagination Technologies buys Ray-tracing outfit

British designer of low-power graphics technology, Imagination Technologies said it will fork out $27 million to acquire Caustic Graphics, a developer of real-time ray-tracing graphics technology.

Imagination has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Caustic Graphics Inc.

Ray tracing is a technique for rendering three-dimensional graphics with complex and more natural lighting models to achieve cinema-quality 3D. The aim is to deliver a level of near photographic realism that is impractical with traditional 3D graphics techniques.

To date ray tracing has been used in specialised applications such as special effects and computer animated movies.

Caustic has developed unique and patented hardware and software technologies to lower the cost and increase the efficiency and performance of ray tracing.

Caustic's technology allows the coexistence of traditional polygon based rendered objects (e.g. objects created using OpenGL ES) and life-like ray-traced elements in the same scene.

Hossein Yassaie, Chief Executive Officer, Imagination reckons "The most exciting consumer technologies have always started in the professional industry until someone finds the right way to cost engineer and optimise power consumption of those technologies."

Ray tracing, he said "is a key additional technology that traditionally has been regarded as the exclusive domain of specialised markets and non real-time applications. We intend to change that.

"The acquisition will enable us to accelerate our plans to be the leading supplier of all forms of graphics technologies in all markets and to continue our mission of delivering the most advanced graphics technologies to mainstream markets.”