tiptrot.com June 22, 2018

Apple's eye-tracking acquisition points towards AR Glasses

28 June 2017, 01:48 | Gerardo Harmon

A screenshot of SensoMotoric's eye-tracking glasses from a You Tube

SensoMotoric Instruments

In a move that is sure to stoke rumors about Apple's future work in augmented and virtual reality technologies, Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), a eye-tracking firm, MacRumors reports. On June 16, SensoMotoric filed new articles of incorporation and subsequently removed more than a dozen pages that once featured information about its products, also deleting the site's job listings and contact information, among other things. SMI's eye-tracking hardware is used in a variety of applications, including virtual and augmented reality, early autism detection in children, in-car systems, brain mapping and neurology, vision science, psychology, physical training, and the list goes on.

SensoMotoric already has a working model for glasses that can be used for eye-tracking for athletes, as well as having worked with the Oculus Rift team on eye-tracking for their VR headset. In SMI has also offered eye-trackers for desktop applications as well as measurement-only head-worn devices for data collection and analysis. MacRumors also says an anonymous tipster shared that the deal closed today, although Apple nor SensoMotoric Instruments have confirmed the acquisition.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our objective or plans".

We don't know any details on how much Apple paid for the company or whether it will operate independently, but we're keeping an eye out. SMI has its own eye tracking glasses, which seem similar to Apple's rumored smart glasses.

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls AR "a big idea like the smartphone" and the upcoming macOS High Sierra includes VR support.

With its new ARKit augmented reality development platform, AAPL is planning to take AR mainstream in iOS 11. At WWDC, Apple also introduced its AR Kit for software developers.

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