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Apple acquires augmented reality firm Metaio

By Kenny Yeo & Marcus Wong - on 29 May 2015, 9:53am

Apple acquires augmented reality firm Metaio

 Image source: Metaio

Flushed with cash, Apple has just made another acquisition. This time it is a company called Metaio that specializes in augmented reality.

The company started in 2002 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen. Today, its most interesting projects include an app that travelers in Berlin can use to see what the area they were looking at would have looked like if the Berlin Wall was still up. They also developed another app for Ferrari allowing prospective customers an augmented reality tour of the car.

The acquisition makes perfect sense as it seems to fit nicely into Apple’s Proactive initiative which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook and third party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now. Improvements to Maps is said to be a focal point of this initiative, and it’s said that Apple will implement an augmented reality view for local listings, allowing you to hold your iPhone up in the Maps application, point your camera towards a particular area, and get a list of restaurants with their ratings.

Metaio has also demonstrated Facial recognition abilities when paired to a Kinect device at Mobile World Congress last year, and that’s something that could allow you to virtually try on outfits and accessories, thus tying in nicely with Apple Pay.

That’s one obvious area where Metaio’s expertise could come in, but they could also be called in to help on a head-mounted virtual reality set that uses the iPhone as the display and computing component. Apple already has a patent for such a device that dates back to 2008, and that patent stipulates different accessories and hardware features that could be built into the headset, like spare batteries and additional on-board memory for media storage.

Whichever way it is, it certainly seems as though Apple is gearing up to push augmented reality in a big way in the years to come.

Source: Techcrunch

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