Apple Reportedly Acquires Augmented Reality and Eye Tracking Company

Apple has acquired a German computer vision company called SensoMotoric Instruments.

Axios reports the company, which is based in Teltow near Berlin, develops eye-tracking technology that can be used in virtual and augmented reality glasses. Given Apple’s focus on augmented reality applications, the new acquisition could help the company develop software to be built into future Apple products.

It is important to note Apple has not officially confirmed the deal but, the company has a history of not publicly disclosing acquisitions. Apple told Axios,”Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

At this time it is currently unclear how Apple will use the technology, talent, and intellectual property of SensoMotoric Instruments. However, it is clear that augmented reality is important for Apple CEO Tim Cook. In fact, last February, Cook gave an interview to The Independent. In the interview, Apple CEO explains how augmented reality could revolutionize technology in the same way the smartphone changed the world.

“I regard it as a big idea, like the smartphone,” Cook explained. “The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining.”

During Apple’s WWDC, Apple revealed their ARKit platform. The platform allows developers to create new applications that use iPhone’s camera and sensors to create visual objects in a real world environment. A few weeks later, those demos were able to create a virtual tape measure.