Apple acquires German company dedicated to AR and eye tracking

SensoMotoric Instruments
A screenshot of SensoMotoric's eye-tracking glasses from a You Tube
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28 June, 2017

Apple on Tuesday confirmed its acquisition of SensoMotoric Instruments, a German computer vision company specialising in augmented reality (AR) and eye tracking, media reported.

MacRumors cited a power of attorney signed by German law firm Hiking Kühn Lüer Wojtek giving power to Delaware-based shell company Vineyard Capital Corporation to represent it in all business related to the acquisition. The company, founded in 1991 and based in Teltow near Berlin, develops eye-tracking tech to be used in virtual and augmented reality headsets and glasses.

For VR and AR applications, SMI's eye-tracking system works with engines including Unity, Unreal and WorldViz's Vizard.

Apple tends to keep its acquisitions rather quiet and hide them among shell corporations maintain its mystique around new projects the Cupertino company could be working on.

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An archived mode of the site from the past week was an indication the firm was actually hiring though the current does not provide any information on this.

Apple has not released any statements regarding the reason for this purchase or what it intends to do with the technology but we will let you know as soon as we know any more. The technology can analyze the wearer's gaze and help to reduce the effects of motion sickness during VR use. Financial terms of the deal are not known. SMI has its own eye tracking glasses, which seem similar to Apple's rumored smart glasses.

Last month, Apple introduced ARKit, a set of APIs for developers interested in building augmented reality experiences. The company also added VR development support to the new iMac Pro. This decreases process load and VR can therefore be run using more performance efficient metrics. He also believes that AR might be as transformative as the smartphone itself.


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