Apple could lead the Virtual Reality competition with its recent acquisition of an AR Company Metaio
Techcrunch reported that Apple had acquired Metaio, an Augmented Reality (AR) company. According to the report, Metaio currently has a large community of developers, customers and users. I conducted a preliminary patent search with AN/metaio and discovered something interesting. The following screen capture is via our Chrome add-on extension Petapator:
Metaio has 21 US patents. Among all the inventors, Peter Meier, CTO and one of the founders of Metaio, has the highest number of patents under AN/metaio.
It is clear that Mr. Meier is a thought-leader in the field of AR and VR; however, it is yet to see if Mr. Meier would join Apple after the acquisition.
By browsing through the abstracts of these patents, I spotted 8,382,285 and 8,113,657 that describe “device and method for determining the orientation of an eye”. These could potentially be extended from augment reality applications to virtual reality platforms.
Apple was awarded US patent # 8,957,835 in February this year for a device that, similar to the concept of Samsung’s Gear VR, can be a Virtual Reality Headset. In the patent description section, it outlines how the device could have an iPhone inserted into it worn on the user’s head. Comparing to other VR headset concepts, Apple includes a remote control that allows the user to interact the content on the iPhone screen.
With the acquisition of Metaio, Apple could leverage the augmented reality innovations to accelerate its in-house virtual reality researches and developments. Virtual Reality will be the next battle field among the tech giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple. In the next 24 months, it surely will be an exciting time to follow this trend.
If you are interested to try out the patent search tool that I used, please visit www.petapator.com.