Imagination Technologies acquires ray-tracing developer

Hertfordshire-based Imagination Technologies is to acquire Caustic Graphics, a developer of real-time ray-tracing graphics technology, for $27m (£17m).

Caustic Graphics has developed patented hardware and software to lower the cost and increase the performance of ray tracing, a technique for rendering three-dimensional graphics with complex and natural lighting models to achieve a level of near-photographic realism.

The deal holds the potential for highly photorealistic computer-generated animated imagery to be brought to a host of new real-time applications and markets.

The ray tracing approach has the added benefit of simplifying the process and cost of content creation. Caustic’s technology also allows for the co-existence of traditional polygon-based rendered objects and life-like ray-traced elements in the same scene.

Hossein Yassaie, chief executive of Imagination Technologies, said: ’Ray tracing is a key technology that traditionally has been regarded as the exclusive domain of specialised markets and non real-time applications. We intend to change that.’

Caustic technology will be integrated in a range of Imagination Technologies’ graphics-processing units (GPUs) that will target many mainstream markets.