Home » Apple Acquires AR Headset Startup Vrvana for $30 Million

Apple Acquires AR Headset Startup Vrvana for $30 Million

Amid rumours claiming Apple is working on a branded augmented reality headset, a report recently claims the tech giant has bolstered its AR hardware team with the purchase Canadian startup Vrvana. According to news reports floating around, Apple has paid $30 million for Vrvana.

Apple seems to have declined to comment on the reports, but a number of Vrvana employees have relocated from Montreal to Apple facilities in California. Though it did not offer its boilerplate confirmation, Apple did not refute the acquisition claims.

Vrvana is best known for the Totem, an as-yet-unreleased hybrid headset that mixes augmented reality and virtual reality technologies into a single “extended reality” device. Touted on Vrvana’s website, which is still active at the time of this writing, Totem integrates specialized internal hardware to not only track head position, but also the location of a user’s hands to facilitate the manipulation of virtual objects.

Specifically, Totem relies on an array of cameras to enable 6DoF tracking and capture live views of the outside world for display on OLED panels located in front of a user’s eyes. The setup allows for head tracking and positioning without the usual external equipment seen in other solutions like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Further, infrared cameras assist Totem in tracking user hands.

Vrvana’s technology allows for rich, mixed reality applications similar to those Apple is only now embracing with ARKit. Unlike competing solutions like Microsoft’s HoloLens kit, which relies on transparent glass to overlay computer graphics, Totem’s fusion of real-time video offers users “seamless blend” transitions between AR and VR environments.

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