Thursday, June 4, 2015

Apple's Push Into Augmented Reality

Apple Augmented Reality Display
Image from Patently Apple
There have been several news items recently that indicate the Apple has decided to play a leading role in the new medium of augmented reality. Augmented reality applications provide digital information that is synchronized in time and location with the real world. Since smartphones are the one digital device that people have with them constantly in the real world, they are an obvious platform for augmenting that world.

In February, the US Patent and Trademark office published 45 new Apple patents that had been granted including an invention relating to flexible displays that have openings designed in the display. One or more openings in the display may form a window through which a user of the device may view an external object. Display pixels in the portion of the display in which the window in formed may be used in forming a heads-up display.

This type of display would be ideal for building an augment reality headset or creating the dashboard and windshield of an automobile.

On May 17th, Apple announced the acquisition of Coherent Navigation, a Bay Area global positioning company that has developed a commercial navigation system that is more accurate than consumer grade GPS systems. Positioning is critical to synchronizing the augmented reality experience with the actual location in the real world.

On May 29th, Apple purchased Metaio, one of the leading companies developing augmented reality authoring tools and customized applications of the technology for advertising and training. Metaio also created the popular Junaio augmented reality browser which pulls data from multiple sources and overlays it on the view from your phone or tablet camera.

These technology additions in the fields of display, mapping and content development put Apple firmly in the race with Microsoft's Hololens, and Google's Glass, Cardboard and Magic Leap investments.

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