Monthly Archives: July 2017

Apple acquired eye tracking company SMI for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Artificial Intelligence

July 13th, 2017, By Jennifer Colegrove Ph.D., CEO and Principal Analyst at Touch Display Research Inc.
Recently, Rumors hold that Apple has acquired Germany-based eye-tracking company SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI). Neither Apple, nor SMI has announced anything yet.

AR, VR, and AI are the next big things. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, LG, Intel, Qualcomm, Facebook are all working on these technologies.

Although Apple hasn’t announce any AR/VR product yet, Touch Display Research forecasts that Apple will release augmented reality (AR) devices in the 2017/2018 time frame.

Figure 1: Apple is getting ready for AR, VR and AI

Source: Touch and Emerging Display monthly report, Touch Display Research, 2016

Sensors are very critical components for augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence devices.

In 2010, Apple acquired voice recognition technology company Siri.

In 2013, Apple acquired Prime Sense which has camera based gesture control technology.

In 2015, Apple acquired VoiceIQ and Perceptio to boost Siri. In 2015, Apple acquired Zurich-based Faceshift, which has technology to scan a person’s facial features to create avatars and other figures that capture a person’s facial expressions in real time.

In 2016, Apple acquired Flyby Media, startup that developed technology for mapping spaces using smart phones.

In August 2016, it is said Apple acquired artificial intelligence (AI) startup Turi Inc. for about $200 million. Turi’s technology could be add into Apple’s Siri and help with human machine interaction.

In 2017, Apple acquired eye-tracking company SMI.


There are over 20 types of sensor technologies are used for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. We organized them into 10 categories: touch sensor and touch pad, camera-based gesture control, ultrasound and radar based gesture control, eye tracking, voice recognition, photodiode sensors, proximity touch screen, motion sensor, short-range wireless and other touchless technologies.

Figure 2:  Sensor technology categories in the report

Source: Sensors for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence market 2016 Report. Touch Display Research Inc.

All the eye-tracking companies are analyzed and compared in chapter 7. Over 10 Key players– Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, Facebook, etc.–are analyzed one-by-one in Chapter 16.

Touch Display Research forecasts that sensors for AR, VR, and AI market will be $97 billion in 2017, and will reach $160 billion in 2022. The $160 billion opportunity will be gobbled by over 200 sensor suppliers and integration companies.

The “Sensors for Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence market 2016 Report” is available immediately and includes a PowerPoint file (over 320 pages) and an Excel database.

PowerPoint file >320 pages
Excel database Profiles >200 companies. Market forecasts to 2022. Units, ASP, Revenue
Published time May, 2016
Price $5200 for company with <5 user. $5900 for company with 5 or more users

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Jennifer Colegrove and team

About Touch Display Research Inc.

Touch Display Research, Inc. ( is an independent technology market research and consulting firm specializing in touch screen and emerging display technologies such as OLED displays, OLED lighting, flexible displays, e-paper displays, ITO-replacement, Active pen, 3D displays, near-eye displays, pocket projectors, quantum dots, gesture controls, voice controls, and eye controls. Touch Display Research provides standard reports, consulting projects, and due diligence for touch suppliers, display manufacturers, consumer electronics ODMs/OEMs, material suppliers, investor companies, venture capitalists, and companies who are merging or acquiring companies in the touch screen, display, and materials industry. We are member of FlexTech Alliance, SEMI and SID.