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Apple buys German eye tracking firm SensoMotoric Instruments

Apple has entered into an agreement to purchase German company SensoMotoric Instruments — a company noted for hardware and software for eye tracking sensors, useful for augmented reality.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, MacRumors on Monday reported that Apple has acquired eye tracking hardware manufacturer SensoMotoric Instruments. The company's hardware is currently used in for augmented reality applications, early autism detection in children, brain mapping and neurology, vision science, psychology, physical training, and more.

Apple confirmed the acquisition to Axios by offering its standard statement, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

The current technology developed by SensoMotoric Instruments records and tracks a wearer's gaze in real-time, 120 times per second. The technology potentially reduces input lag, cutting down on motion sickness when the perception of movement doesn't match a shift in perspective.

SensoMotoric Instruments has its headquarters in Teltow, Germany, with a satellite office in Boston, Mass. The terms of the deal, and the status of the company's existing employees, is unknown at this time. Neither Apple nor SensoMotoric responded to AppleInsider's requests for comment.

Apple's Vice President of Corporate Law representing Delaware's Vineyard Capital Corporation, granted power of attorney to a German law firm to represent the presumed shell company. The shell company then purchased SensoMotoric Instruments on June 16.

The technology will likely not find its way into the "iPhone 8," but Apple is rumored to be working on a set of Smart Glasses. Publicly, the company only recently moved into the sector with iOS 11's ARKit.

Apple Vice President Craig Federighi announced at WWDC that ARKit is coming to iOS 11, expected to launch in the fall. Federighi noted that Apple's integration with iOS and iPhone hardware allowed for the technology, that was being previewed at the time to Lego, Ikea, and other companies.

ARKit will be limited to the iPhone 6s and newer, and the iPad Pro and more recent.