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Home / Technology / Apple buys Denver Startup Building Waveguide lenses for AR glasses – TechCrunch

Apple buys Denver Startup Building Waveguide lenses for AR glasses – TechCrunch



Apple has acquired Akonia Holographics, a Denver-based startup that manufactures augmented reality waveguide lenses. The acquisition was confirmed by Apple to Reuters, who first reported the news.

An Apple spokesperson gave TechCrunch the standard statement of the company "Apple occasionally buys smaller technology companies, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or our plans."

This acquisition provides Apple's best ever confirmation that resources are being invested in technologies that support the development of a lightweight augmented reality headset. Over the years, there have been a number of reports in which Apple plans to release consumer AR glasses over the next few years. In late 201

7, we reported that Apple had acquired Vrvana, a mixed-reality headset company, with a device that offered users augmented reality experiences on a conventional opaque display. This latest takeover seems to give a much clearer indication of where Apple's consumer ambitions might consider it a head-worn augmented reality device.

Waveguide displays are the de facto optical technology for augmented reality headsets. They come in a few different flavors, but all of them essentially contain an image that is interspersed in the side of a piece of glass and bounces between etchings (or other irregularities) in a lens and finally radiates that image to the user's eyes. Waveguide lenses are currently used in AR headsets sold by Magic Leap and Microsoft.

A reflective waveguide display built by Lumus

They are popular because they allow thin, largely transparent designs, although they are often used to have problems with color reproduction and the displays can only get so large before the images distort become. Akonia's marketing materials claim for her "HoloMirror" solution that she can display "vibrant, full-color, wide field of view images."

The startup received $ 11.6 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.

While many of Apple's biggest technology competitors have already experimented with AR headsets. Apple has focused most of its early consumer-driven efforts on phone-based AR technologies that can track the geometry of spaces and "project" digital objects onto surfaces.

Apple ARKit

The unclear question about Apple's rumors about its AR goggles is whether it wants to deliver a more powerful device, such as Magic Leap, that tracks a user's environment and builds on Apple's interactive ARKit technology The first version is becoming more conservative and approaches the AR glasses as a rather worn-out Apple Watch that presents a user's notifications and allows for easy interactions [19659002] Continuing with waveguide displays would certainly leave both options open for the company, though Due to the small window that even the currently widest visual field waveguides offers, it can be assumed that Apple will opt for the latter until there is a major tech breakthrough delayed release.


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