Apple Bought Augmented Reality Headset Company Vrvana

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple recently purchased Vrvana, a company that developed an augmented reality headset called Totem, reports TechCrunch.

    Two sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed the acquisition, but Apple declined to comment and did not provide its usual acquisition statement. TechCrunch says Apple did not deny the story, though, and several employees who were previously with Vrvana are now with Apple.


    Apple is said to have paid $30 million for Vrvana, and the deal may have taken place this summer. Vrvana's website is still up and running, but social media accounts ceased updates in August.

    Vrvana developed a sort of mixed reality headset called Totem, which was never released. It was designed to combine both augmented and virtual reality technologies in a single headset, merging full VR capabilities with pass-through cameras to enable screen-based augmented reality features.

    Essentially, Totem used a set of cameras to project real world images into its built-in 1440p OLED display, a somewhat unique approach that set it apart from competing products like Microsoft's HoloLens, which uses a transparent display to combine virtual and augmented reality. With Totem's approach, much richer virtual experiences were available, as full VR objects could be combined with a real-world view.

    The built-in cameras were used to track the device's position in space, and additional infrared cameras were used to detect a user's hands. Several media sites were able to check out the Totem last year, and it received largely positive reviews.

    Totem's technology could be built into a future Apple device, as multiple rumors suggest Apple is working on some kind of augmented reality headset or smart glasses product.

    Apple is said to be building an AR headset that features a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a new "rOS" operating system. The company is aiming to finish work on its augmented reality headset by 2019, and a finished product could be ready to ship as soon as 2020, should the project progress on schedule.

    While Apple has acquired other augmented reality companies like Metaio, Faceshift, Flyby Media, and SensoMotoric Instruments, this is the first dedicated AR/VR headset hardware company Apple has purchased, signaling a deep interest in developing some kind of AR/VR wearable device.

    Article Link: Apple Bought Augmented Reality Headset Company Vrvana
  2. newyorksole macrumors 68040

    Apr 2, 2008
    New York.
    I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I wonder what Apple’s headset/glasses will look like if it does eventually come out.
  3. randyj macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2004
    Why is Apple so interested in AR?
    I don’t see a need for it. A bit like Siri really.
  4. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    If they’re forced to use Macs, they’ll have to kiss goodbye to the idea of using their laptops for development. :p
  5. a.gomez macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2008
    AR is so 6 years ago - it is like they living in a time warp when it comes to computing now. I guess when most your line up cant do VR you need to stick with AR.
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Perhaps not now, but in a decade this technology will be ubiquitous. There’s an awful lot of potential and we’re barely tickling the iceberg at this point.
  7. diegov12 macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2015
    VR is so overpriced and so 3 years ago.
    unlike AR, which is free to everyone without having to buy extra hardware.
  8. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  9. deanthedev Suspended


    Sep 29, 2017
    Is that why Google spent so much on Tango, then quickly came out with ARCore (to allow AR on regular phones without Tango hardware) after seeing Apple release ARKit? You should also tell developers AR is old news so they can all stop rushing to develop Apps for a “dead-end” technology.

    And what mobile devices can do VR? Answer: None.
  10. Krayzkat macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2011
    My guess is they won’t bring out an AR headset or glasses. Maybe they just want the patents.
    AR without a headset/glasses would be the Apple thing.
  11. Lepton macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2002
    Cold Spring Harbor, NY
    AR will bring Minority Report to life - the scene walking through the mall with all the ads following you. The movie had them projecting from the walls, but we will have them floating around us.
  12. a.gomez, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017

    a.gomez macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2008
    LOL! - now the Mickey Mouse mobile world is the metric we judge a computing frontier. My 5 year old laptop also can't do VR... what exactly are they going to do when strapped with a mobile OS and hardware. You also got to love the "that guy also got an F so mine is not bad" mentality... so they both archaic, Brilliant.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2017 ---
    Right,... Technology is usually driven by people who want old tech for free. And the companies that give it to them.
  13. CausticSoda macrumors 6502


    Feb 14, 2014
    Abu Dhabi
    Perhaps it is a plan to deal with the notch? Wear the AR headset and it disappears... Actually, after much deliberation, I got the X a few days ago, and the notch is much less of an issue than I thought. In part, this is because many app manufacturers seem to have ignored Apple's ridiculous instruction that they were not "allowed" to hide the notch.
  14. budselectjr macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2009
    People saying VR is dead haven't played Payday 2 VR
  15. B3yondL macrumors regular


    Mar 31, 2015
    Did Apple do this many acquisitions with Steve around? Seems like they're just trying to buy out ideas instead of coming up with their own. And with this many acquisitions, they're still not as innovative as when Steve was around.
  16. randyj macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2004
    Apple leading the way is not the norm.
    They normally let others try and fail and then come in with a product that is far easier/better/Apple like that then we all wonder how we lived without it. AR amd VR are niche things atm.

    Time would be better spent on removing the touch bar for the next MacBook Pro and updating the Mac Mini.
  17. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Some things that Apple acquired under Steve Jobs the pretty much impact every Apple product we see today:

    SoundJam MP
    P.A. Semi
    C3 Technologies

    Google and Microsoft acquire as much if not moreso than Apple. Are they buying out ideas instead of coming up with their own?
  18. Seoras macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2007
    Scotsman in New Zealand
    $30 million is cash from the small change box.
    It could be Apple filling their patent war chest, if Vrvana have any granted or in the pipeline.
    I seriously doubt it's a product they'll ship, e.g. Beats, as VR tech isn't mainstream enough yet.

    I find it interesting that all the visual tech has promised so much but yet to see mass use and adoption.
    For example instant messaging became the most popular form of communications with video chat the least.
    The original Blade Runner got that badly wrong as did just about ever other SciFi author and futurist.
    VR's been around since the mid-90's (I saw a head set in Fry's in Palo Alto in '95) and it still isn't a mainstream tech product.
  19. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    "...and several employees who were previously with Vrvana are now with Apple."

    That doesn't mean Apple acquired them. They could have lost their jobs.
  20. iZac macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2003
    AR glasses, with pass through cameras ...damn, Doc Brown was spot on ...


    btw, these are the android versions:

  21. RowellE macrumors regular


    Mar 5, 2012
  22. OneTokenRing... macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2015

    38 before he died - 53 after.... so about 40/60% wouldn't quite call it a crazy difference..

    There's nothing wrong with buying talent and IP if it helps advance your goals
  23. Regime2008 Suspended


    Oct 3, 2017
    Basshead in ATL
    But but but... The ones in the bottom have a notch across the top!
  24. DoctorTech macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2014
    Indianapolis, IN
    VR is good for games (I have an HTC Vive running on a Windows desk top). However, VR has some serious limitations in that the user is "virtually" isolated in their virtual world. They may be able to interact with other virtual people in that virtual world but the user is essentially absent from their immediate environment. I believe AR will become more popular once someone (likely Apple) comes up with a polished implementation of hardware & software. In contrast to today where so many people walk around with their heads down looking at a screen in their hands, AR will allow "heads up, hands free" blending of interactions with the user's real environment as well as a layer of augmented information (camera feed, map, text alerts, etc.) within the user's field of view.
  25. Joe_Schmoe Suspended


    Nov 14, 2017
    Jesus wept!!! What’s with the over the top caustic attitude??

    Imo, modern popular technology is NOT judged by “what can run on a high-end recent desktop pc”, because that particular product segment is getting more and more relegated to a niche device, as mobile devices get more powerful.
    It’s a TEENY market, comparatively speaking...
    Sure- ar had a very, very, very, very minor run 6 years ago w/ about maybe half a dozen companies like Disney throwing out some half-assed children’s toys where you could place a tile with a specific pattern on a table, then look through some specialty device to see a “hologram” standing on the tile. That was about the extent of it. The technology just wasn’t there to support it. You cannot truly think that ar had a good run back then, that everyone remotely interested in it had their chance to experience it, that any dev with an ar related idea already leveraged it back then, and that it completely ran its course. Ffs, man.... surely you’re aware that sometimes tech products are a bit too ambitious & try to run when the core tech isn’t really even ready to walk yet, yeah? That was ar 6 years ago! What that has to do with modern ar on ubiquitous mobile devices- I struggle to see.

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