Apple purchases augmented-reality glasses startup

Apple on Aug. 29 confirmed it acquired Akonia Holographics, a Longmont, Colo.-based startup that builds lenses for augmented-reality glasses, Reuters reports.

Augmented reality enables a device — in this case, a set of glasses — to overlay digital information on the real world. One of the most popular uses of augmented reality to date is "Pokemon Go," a mobile game that uses a smartphone's camera system to superimpose images and cartoons on the phone's screen.

It's unclear when Apple acquired the startup, but Reuters suggested the deal may have closed during the first half of 2018. "Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don't discuss our purpose or plans," the iPhone maker said in a statement to the publication.

Last year, Bloomberg said Apple was developing augmented-reality glasses and suggested the products might ship as early as 2020.

Akonia Holographics, founded in 2012 by a team of holography scientists, develops display technology that allows for "thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images," according to Reuters. The startup holds more than 200 patents related to holographic systems and materials.

Apple declined to comment on its plans or products related to augmented-reality glasses to Reuters. Akonia Holographics could not immediately be reached for comment.

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