Apple has acquired German eye-tracking company for an undisclosed amount
Founded in 1991, German company SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) specializes in the development and creation of eye-tracking technology for both commercial and scientific markets. Perhaps the company's most well-known commercial application is its eye-tracking hardware that played a major role in the creation of Sony's Playstation VR headset.
The resilience and independence of SMI in the eye-tracking market apparently caught the attention of Apple Inc. who had quietly acquired the company early last month. According to MacRumors, SMI has since heavily altered its official home page including the removal of contacts, links, schedule of upcoming events, and even all of its products.
The sudden takeover strongly suggests that Apple will be investing more on VR and AR applications with eye-tracking capabilities. While there are already laptops and monitors that integrate eye-tracking hardware with unique gaming functionalities, it will be interesting to see how Apple could approach the technology for its future MacBooks or iPhones.
The Cupertino company had acquired another German-based company called Metaio back in 2015 for an undisclosed sum in order to gain access to its augmented reality technology. Buying out smaller and lesser-known companies for exclusive rights to certain technologies has been a key stepping-stone for the creation of some of Apple's most successful products.