Following media reports, Apple confirmed Tuesday that it has purchased German computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments, a maker of eye-tracking glasses and systems. To that end, when reached for further comment on the SMI deal, an Apple spokesperson reiterated the classic "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our goal or plans" line.
Apple's Vice President of Corporate Law representing Delaware's Vineyard Capital Corporation, granted power of attorney to a German law firm to represent the presumed shell company.
At its developer conference WWDC earlier in the year, Apple showcased some exciting developments in augmented reality using the iPad, but the idea of getting a pair of AR glasses from Apple is an exciting proposition.
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For VR and AR applications, SMI's eye-tracking system works with engines including Unity, Unreal and WorldViz's Vizard. The amount Apple paid as a part of the deal is not known yet, and also whether Apple would let SMI function as an independent company or absorb it within its larger framework. MacRumors also says an anonymous tipster shared that the deal closed today, although Apple nor SensoMotoric Instruments have confirmed the acquisition. Apple CEO Tim Cook has also been effusive in his praise for the technology in public speeches. Additionally, SMI recently removed some product pages from its website, as well as its jobs portal, contact info, list of distributors and other information.
Considering the increasing focus on Apple as pertains augmented reality application, this move would assist it with the technological resources to continue developing software which would be constructed for coming versions of the iPhone or even develop standalone pieces for the hardware.
The current technology developed by SensoMotoric Instruments records and tracks a wearer's gaze in real-time, 120 times per second. This decreases process load and VR can therefore be run using more performance efficient metrics.