Apple acquires AR headset market Vrvana


Apple CEO Tim Cook's obsession with augmented reality (AR) appears to have gone to the next level, after the California tech giant bought AR headset startup Vrvana for $30 million.

Vrvana is the startup behind the Totem virtual reality headset, which never actually shipped to consumers but had excellent reviews from those who got an early hands-on.

VRvana's Totem is now tethered, but I assume Apple will solve this issue over the next few years. Totem's custom lenses that provide a significantly wider field of view than competitors displays were a hit.

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As for Vrvana, their claim to fame is the Totem AR headset.

The move adds flesh to the bones of rumours about Apple's plan to launch its own AR headset by 2020.

A "number" of Vrvana's employees have reportedly joined Apple's team in Cupertino. This acquisition is perhaps the clearest indicator yet of what the company is hoping to develop. The Vrvana site is now still up, but it stopped updating social accounts and news in August of this year.

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This is different and slightly better than the methods of Microsoft's HoloLens and Windows' Mixed Reality headsets as it means the Totem is able to overlay completely opaque images and animations over the real world rather than ghost-like projections.

Apple is known to be particularly fascinated with augmented reality, something that is evident yet again given reports of the iPhone maker having acquired the Canada based AR start-up Vrvana. This allows the headset to do what it calls "seamless blend" transitions between VR and AR environments. The system of cameras enabled 6DoF tracking, so the device can track its position in 3D space, while also using infrared cameras to track the user's hands.

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