Apple acquires Akonia Holographics – a startup focused on lenses for AR glasses

On Wednesday, tech giant Apple Inc confirmed it had acquired Akonia Holographics, a startup focused on making lenses for augmented reality glasses. Terms of the deal were not made public.

Akonia was founded in 2012 by a group of holography scientists and had originally focused on holographic data storage before shifting its efforts to creating displays for augmented reality glasses, according to its website.

In augmented reality, digital information is overlaid on the real world as in the popular game Pokemon Go. Mobile phones use their camera system to do this on the phone’s screen, but major technology firms are racing to create glasses that will show digital information on transparent lenses.
Akonia said its display technology allows for “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-colour, wide field-of-view images.” The firm has a portfolio of more than 200 patents related to holographic systems and materials, according to its website.

Akonia also said it raised $11.6 million in seed funding in 2012 and was seeking additional funding. It was unclear whether that funding ever materialized or who the firm’s investors were.

Augmented reality headsets currently on the market such as Microsoft Corp’s HoloLense and startup Magic Leap’s Magic Leap One both use darkened lenses and are intended for indoor use. Both are also intended for software developers testing the technology and cost several thousand dollars.
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