Apple buys established augmented reality firm Metaio

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2015
Apple earlier this month completed an acquisition of Metaio, a German augmented reality firm that first started life as a side project at Volkswagen, for an as-yet-unknown project.




The buy was uncovered on Thursday by TechCrunch, which pointed to a Twitter post showing a legal document seemingly confirming a full transfer of shares from Metaio's holdings to Apple.

Metaio recently canceled its user conference originally set for June, disabled its Twitter accounts and just days ago posted a notice announcing an end to product and subscription sales.

When reached for comment, Apple offered its usual statement of confirmation, saying, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

According to Metaio's website, the company specializes in augmented reality and computer vision solutions. One tool, called Metaio Creator, helped customers author immersive, interactive experiences using existing devices like Apple's iPad. As seen below, an app from Ferrari allows prospective buyers to use a tablet and view a car's trim level overlaid on the actual model.





Apple's plans for Metaio and its staff remain unclear, but Cupertino has been researching augmented reality hardware and software for some time. It was reported in March that Apple already had a team dedicated to exploring potential AR deployments.

In addition to ongoing in-house research and development, Apple holds a variety of patents covering gamut of augmented reality applications, including transparent displays, mapping solutions and iPhone-powered virtual displays.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Fantastic potential for historic sites everywhere!
  • Reply 2 of 20
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Hmm...perhaps this is some of the "blue sky" stuff Apple's new CDO will be working on. :D
  • Reply 3 of 20
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,794member
    BREAKING: Apple has still not acquired Tesla and continues to not acquire them.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Would be amazing for an AppleCar dealer.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    mejsricmejsric Posts: 149member
    Apple Car confirmed!
  • Reply 6 of 20
    roakeroake Posts: 765member
    "Augmented Reality" is still in its early infancy. Another few years, with big R&D budgets, and it may start to be something other than a novelty. I hope this means Apple is working on it, and didn't just buy the company to get some patent or other.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,672member

    This is a gem of a tool set that will be made more widely available to the world.

     

    image image 

    image 

  • Reply 8 of 20
    fred1fred1 Posts: 833member
    This is a gem of a tool set that will be made more widely available to the world.

    <iframe width="640" height="385" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/CY9f6UJZlmM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

    That is COOL!! I would love to use this.

    And because my German doesn't include much more than "Ein Glas Rotwzein bitte" is the scene being shown a place where people got into W. Germany from the East through the building?

    I
  • Reply 9 of 20
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    I've heard of visual search before and wow that demo posted above looked accurate.

    "Siri what is this?" May be a valid question someday.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,252member
    The visual search did rock! It lined up nicely with the search efforts recently written about by AI.

    I am hoping the AR tools can be quickly integrated into iOS and Mac OS X for release to developers.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Fred1 View Post





    That is COOL!! I would love to use this.



    And because my German doesn't include much more than "Ein Glas Rotwzein bitte" is the scene being shown a place where people got into W. Germany from the East through the building?



    I



    I found it very disturbing that the girl using the app was smiling while the footage integrated into the environment showed wince-inducing scenes of danger and destruction.

  • Reply 12 of 20
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,097member

    I found it very disturbing that the girl using the app was smiling while the footage integrated into the environment showed wince-inducing scenes of danger and destruction.

    The scene she was smiling at was extremely famous footage of an East German soldier using the last chance to desert and jump over barbed wire that was about to be replaced by the wall, in early 1961.

    The guy made it, and was elated at having jumped. It is not wince-inducing.

    The other scenes, though equally portentous circumstances, are also success stories of people who managed to escape into the West.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by spheric View Post





    The scene she was smiling at was extremely famous footage of an East German soldier using the last chance to desert and jump over barbed wire that was about to be replaced by the wall, in early 1961.



    The guy made it, and was elated at having jumped. It is not wince-inducing.



    The other scenes, though equally portentous circumstances, are also success stories of people who managed to escape into the West.



    I'm aware of the historical context. It's still wince-inducing seeing footage of people falling from buildings. Perhaps memories of 9/11 are coloring my perception in this instance.

  • Reply 14 of 20
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,097member

    Of course. For me, it's seeing people dropping to safety. 

  • Reply 15 of 20
    ronstarkronstark Posts: 81member
    Quite cool indeed. The buyer of fellow operating the iPad didn't get the price tag for his innoventions!
  • Reply 16 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    ronstark wrote: »
    Quite cool indeed. The buyer of fellow operating the iPad didn't get the price tag for his innoventions!

    What?
  • Reply 17 of 20
    ronstarkronstark Posts: 81member
    All of the changes and "add-one" ( I called them innoventions) obviously cost more money than the flat price of the car. The software, in the video, didn't seem to show how much more all those fancy additions cost!
  • Reply 18 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,760member

    The AR stuff seems a bit old-hat when stacked up against HoloLens, but at least Apple is the game.

  • Reply 19 of 20
    alexmitalexmit Posts: 112member
    Having used Metaio Creator to author roughly 5-6 AR projects I can say it is one of the better apps for AR content. That being said, it is also very unintuitive/buggy and having to use an AR app to play the content makes it very awkward. Awkward in a way similar to scanning QR codes requires a specific app. Until these technologies are built into iOS or the default apps, it won't really gain any serious traction.
  • Reply 20 of 20

    Everything is focused on AR for the iPad or the iPhone, what about CarPlay? How about a heads-up display integrated with AR and GPS in a future BMW or Mercedes? How about integrating that with LIDAR so when you're driving along a dark road you can be alerted in the display if something is in the road?

     

    If you look at how you could blend these technologies Apple could be significant player without having to build a car -- they can deliver the user-facing OS for the car.

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