Apple has acquired eye-tracking startup SensoMotoric Instruments. The acquisition is being looked at through the lens of Apple’s virtual reality and augmented tech ambitions. With this acquisition, the company has significantly bolstered its arsenal of eye-tracking technology.
Founded in 1991, SMI has made significant advances in eye-tracking software, coming up with various proprietary eyeglass hardware and technologies. The company mainly focuses on consumer centric applications of eye-tracking technology including but not limited to eye tracking for virtual reality.
We probably didn’t even have to ask to know what Apple was going to say in response to inquiries about the acquisition.
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
SMI’s tech also includes something called foveated rendering which tracks where you are looking at, and then blurs out everything else but the place that is in your line of sight. This tech as can be imagined, could be pivotal to the development of VR and AR headsets.
Apple is not alone in acquiring companies working on eye-tracking based scenarios. Google for instance, acquired Eyefluence last year, in a bid to help it obtain technology that could choose interfaces using the movement of the eye. By acquiring startups and companies that have the tech they need, corporations like Google and Apple that have surplus money are saved a lot of time and effort. And this is probably why this practice has gained much popularity of late.
Check out the video below to know more about the kind of work SMI does: