Apple confirmed Wednesday that it has acquired the Denver-based augmented reality display maker Akonia.
Akonia is a company founded by a group of 12 holography scientists from Denver, Colorado back in 2012. It was initially focused on the development of holographic data storage before shifting its interest to augmented reality display.
Akonia creates waveguide displays that allow thin, transparent smart glass lenses to produce vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images. According to its website, the startup has over 200 patents related to holographic technologies and materials.
On Wednesday, Apple announced the acquisition of the company, confirming one of Apple’s ambitious dreams – to create a wearable device that will make use of the visualizations superimposed over a person’s view.
“Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple said in a statement.
Unlike virtual reality that creates a 3D visualization of objects found in the real world, augmented reality superimposes digital information on the real world. Over the years, AR has become popular among mobile game makers, resulting in the creation of Pokemon Go, Ingress, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Nowadays, augmented reality is considered one of the most promising technologies of our generation. In fact, major tech firms around the world are racing to create glasses that will enable users to view digital information on transparent lenses.
While Apple has not made a statement regarding any AR projects at the moment, this acquisition is a clear indication of the company’s efforts to develop its very own lightweight AR headset. For years, it’s been rumored that Apple has been planning to release an AR glass, but the technology is yet to be seen.
Last year, Apple also acquired the mixed-reality headset company Vrvan. The company was said to be developing an augmented reality device using a conventional opaque display.
At the moment, both Apple supporters and critics are left wondering what the company’s plans are when it comes to augmented reality technology. Akonia is yet to issue a statement about the acquisition.