Apple sees the (augmented) light, buys holo-glass tech startup

Akonia Holographics gets bitten by Apple and moves into paradise


Apple has reportedly snaffled holographic glassware biz Akonia Holographics for an undisclosed fee, presumably to use its tech in augmented reality gadgets.

Akonia is a six-year-old company with roots that extend back to InPhase and its holographic optical disks. It moved on from holographic storage to displays, and has developed the proprietary HoloMirror, which allows transparent smart glass lenses to display full-colour images with a wide field of view.

The technology involves holographic reflective and waveguide optics and the inclusion of a layer of photopolymer plastic between two layers of glass.

Altogether InPhase raised $94m in five funding rounds: Crunchbase listed Akonia raising $11.6m in an A-round in August 2012, which was initially intended for data storage development.

With augmented reality, virtual images are interposed between the eyes and the real world using special glasses. The Google Glass project was an early attempt at doing this.

Such images have been restricted to relatively narrow fields of view and produce washed-out colours. Akonia has claimed its technology can produce vibrant colours and a wide field of view, the latter of which has been a problem for many in the field. Apple obviously agrees.

Apple buying Akonia propels the organisation onto the augmented reality front line.

Apple has not confirmed how much it paid for Akonia. We expect Akonia's investors got back their $11.6m funding, with maybe enough cash to buy an iPhone X thrown in as well. ®


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