Apple Acquires SensoMotoric, a German Firm Specialising in Eye-Tracking Tech

If Apple’s announcement of ARKit at WWDC 2017 was not proof enough for company’s dedication towards augmented reality, it has now acquired a computer vision company that specialises in augmented reality. As per the latest information, Apple has acquired German company SensoMotoric Instruments, which provides eye-tracking solutions.

While a MacRumors report first suggested that the company has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, the Cupertino-based company gave Axios its standard boilerplate statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” While Apple almost never officially discloses acquisitions to public, this standard response can be seen as a confirmation.

As SensoMotoric Instruments provides eye-tracking technology, which plays a key role in the development of augmented reality applications, it is clear that Apple might be focusing heavily on this area going ahead.

Apple Acquires SensoMotoric, a German Firm Specialising in Eye-Tracking Tech
However, this should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been tracking news regarding the company currently headed by Tim Cook in last two year. Tim Cook himself has openly made several statements where he has talked about the potential that augmented reality holds.

As we mentioned, Apple introduced ARKit along with the announcement of iOS 11 at WWDC 2017. The ARKit provides fast and stable motion tracking, ambient light estimation and so on which is made possible by using the sensors in the iPhone and iPad devices. “This will make ARKit the largest AR platform in the world,” Craig Federighi said at the event.

As there is no official information available from the company’s side, currently it is unclear what Apple is planning to do with its new acquisition. However, we can now expect the company to make an announcement regarding its augmented reality efforts sometime in the near future.

Uber Said to Have Hired Law Firm to Probe How It Handled Delhi Rape Case

Uber Technologies has hired a law firm to investigate how it obtained the medical records of a Delhi woman executive who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014. The review will focus in part on accusations from some current and former employees that bribes were involved, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, which is in the early stages of the probe, was hired by the ride service after employees gave contradictory accounts of how Uber obtained the medical records, one of the people said.

The firm is also exploring whether former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick knew how Uber came into possession of the records, the person added.

Kalanick through a spokesman declined to comment. Uber also declined to comment, and O’Melveny & Myers did not respond to a request for comment. Members of Uber’s board were briefed about the investigation in recent days, shortly before five major Uber investors sent a letter to Kalanick to demand his resignation, said the person. The probe was likely one reason the board turned against Kalanick, who stepped down on Tuesday, the first person said.

The investigation is ongoing and has not reached any conclusions on whether Uber improperly obtained the records. Reuters has no evidence that bribery occurred.

The rape survivor from Delhi sued Uber last week, accusing the ride service operator of improperly obtaining and sharing her medical records. The suit said that shortly after the rape occurred, former Uber Asia chief Eric Alexander “met with Delhi police and intentionally obtained plaintiff’s confidential medical records.”

Alexander, through spokeswoman Heather Wilson, denied paying any bribes and said that the files containing the victim’s records had been obtained through appropriate, legal methods.

Uber Said to Have Hired Law Firm to Probe How It Handled Delhi Rape Case

A Delhi police spokesman did not answer multiple phone calls from Reuters to seek comment. The rapist was convicted in 2015.

According to a person familiar with conversations between Kalanick and Alexander, the two executives had discussed obtaining the victim’s records because they suspected the rape might have been fabricated by Uber rival Ola to damage the company.

Another person said Alexander showed the medical files to colleagues in New Delhi more than once.

Wilson denied that Alexander had discussed or shared the records with colleagues. She said that Alexander believed the victim was raped and never expressed the view that it was a set up. Uber fired Alexander earlier this month.

Kalanick, 40, announced late on Tuesday that he was resigning as chief executive, though he would remain on the board of Uber. He said he had accepted “the investors’ request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight.”

Privately held Uber has grown from startup to a global ride service valued at $68 billion in less than a decade, driven by Kalanick, who set the tone of a company that challenged laws and norms to succeed.

Confidence in Kalanick had been strained this year by claims of sexual harassment in the company and a lawsuit accusing Uber of benefiting from trade secrets stolen from self-driving cartechnology from Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.