You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Apple Buys German Eye-Tracking Tech Firm With AR, VR Applications

Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports.

The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple’s AR and VR ambitions were on full display at its WWDC conference earlier this month, with demos of both technologies during the opening keynote. The tech giant’s iOS 11 operating system, currently available as a developer preview with a fall launch, will become “the biggest AR platform in the world,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, said in announcing the update.

The iOS 11 release includes a set of tools called ARKit for creating “high-quality AR experiences” for iPhones and iPads. “ARKit allows developers to tap into the latest computer vision technologies to build detailed and compelling virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more,” Apple said in the WWDC announcement for iOS 11.

SMI was founded in 1991 as a spinoff from the Free University of Berlin. The privately held company sells its technology into multiple commercial and academic segments, and says more than 6,000 of its systems have been installed worldwide.

In addition to VR and AR applications, the company’s eye-tracking system has been used for clinical research, cognitive and physical training, vision science and ophthalmology, and market research, according to its website.

For VR and AR applications, SMI’s eye-tracking system works with engines including Unity, Unreal and WorldViz’s Vizard. The company is based near Berlin in Teltow, Germany, and has offices in Boston and San Francisco.

More Digital

  • Chris Sumner - Refinery29

    Refinery29 Hires Live Nation's Chris Sumner as SVP, Business Development and Strategy

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

  • IMAX-VR-Centre---Reception_800x500

    Future of Imax VR Uncertain After Company Closes Two Centers

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

  • Infowars Alex Jones

    Twitter Blocks Infowars and Alex Jones from Periscope, Suspends Infowars Ability to Tweet

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

  • LeLe Pons

    Lele Pons Signs With Universal Music Group’s 10:22 pm Label

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

  • Viper Club - Susan Sarandon -

    YouTube's 'Viper Club' Starring Susan Sarandon to Get Theatrical Release by Roadside Attractions

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

  • Music Streaming Wars

    T-Mobile Customers to Get Free Pandora Subscriptions, $25 Live Nation Tickets

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

  • Amazon Music Names Andre Stapleton Head

    Amazon Music Names Andre Stapleton Head of U.S. Label Relations

    Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German eye-tracking technology firm, bolstering its development of augmented and virtual reality products, according to reports. The deal was first reported by MacRumors, which dug up documentation indicating that Apple bought SMI through a holding company. Apple didn’t explicitly confirm the acquisition, responding with its standard statement that “Apple […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content