Apple acquires mixed reality headset maker Vrvana for $30M

by Fredrick Graves November 23, 2017, 0:12
Apple acquires mixed reality headset maker Vrvana for $30M

Don't look for Totem to hit store shelves now that Apple owns Vrvana.

Called the Totem, the headset promises a "seamless blend" of augmented and virtual worlds by capturing the the outside world on its outward facing cameras and displaying them on the inward facing OLED display.

While camera-based mixed reality solutions have previously been criticized for featuring a nausea-inducing lag, the Totem nearly eliminates the problem with a lag that's been cut to only 3ms. The agreement was for around $30 million, as told to TechCrunch by two sources. The report says Apple has been working on augmented reality headset to ship in 2020.

Apple is yet to confirm whether or not the deal has taken place but plans for freshly acquired companies isn't something Apple is particularly known for sharing. While Vrvana's website is still functional, the company has stopped updating its social media accounts and a number of its employees are said to have moved to join Apple in California. The acquisition would indicate that Cupertino is gathering assets to make its planned push into the AR market.

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The Totem holds a number of advantages over these systems, most notably in that it is able to overlay fully opaque, true-color animations on top of the real world rather than the ghost-like projections of other headsets which critically can not display the color black.

Vrvana has a long history with VR and AR.

As you could see in Vrvana's marketing material above, one of the company's strengths is "hand tracking" technology which helps users manipulate virtual objects when wearing the headset.

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