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AR/VR Startup Vrvana Acquired by Apple in $30m Deal
23 November 2017, 12:12 | Gerardo Harmon
Report: Apple has acquired mixed reality headset developer Vrvana for $30M
The move adds flesh to the bones of rumours about Apple's plan to launch its own AR headset by 2020.
In an interview last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said about Apple AR headset, "There are rumors and stuff about companies working on those - we obviously don't talk about what we're working on, but today I can tell you the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way". Totem's custom lenses that provide a significantly wider field of view than competitors displays were a hit.
Vrvana's technology allows for rich, mixed reality applications similar to those Apple is only now embracing with ARKit.
Apple has reportedly spent about $30 million acquiring Canadian augmented reality firm Vrvana.
Generally, Apple is very secretive about completely new products but its interest in AR hardware is not surprising, so the deal is significant. Some of Vrvana's employee's have already joined Apple, and it has already stopped updating it social accounts as of August. This acquisition is perhaps the clearest indicator yet of what the company is hoping to develop.
The headset also features "inside-out" tracking which means that cameras are used to track the user's position and surroundings while Infrared detects hand movements. By using cameras, Vrvana's headset is able to overlay fully opaque, true-color animations over a video feed of the real world. It is likely its tech will be rolled into whatever AR headset Apple may be working on, likely bringing in some of Cupertino's refined design skills to the rather clunky designs of AR and VR headsets now out in the wild. The device can also transition from AR to VR seamlessly and has 360-degree positional and hand-tracking capabilities.
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