Waterloo, Ontario-based North, the company behind smart glasses Focals, has acquired the patents and technology of augmented reality (AR) Intel Vaunt glasses.
The details of the deal have not been made public but Intel is one of North’s major investors.
North recently rebranded itself from Thalmic Labs, the company behind the Myo gesture control armband. It launched about a month after BetaKit reported on the development of the smart glasses technology.
Focals are a pair of stylish smart glasses with a transparent, full-colour display that connects you to various things. Users can use the glasses for text messaging, checking calendars, turn-by-turn navigation, weather, Amazon Alexa and ordering Uber rides.
The Verge reported on December 17, 2018 that Vaunt was working on smart glasses that are very similar to Focals but struggled to get the technology from production to customers. It noted that Intel had failed to find the right partners to bring the product successfully to market.
Stephen Lake, the company’s CEO, told The Verge that North acquired Vaunt’s patents for future versions of Focals.
“It’s really about a defensive position,” Lake said, adding that he wanted to protect the company from any future lawsuits.
The article said patents include “everything from new techniques, user interfaces, to ways to interact with the glasses.”
North was able to generate about $150 million USD (roughly $183.35 million CAD) in investor support and also counts heavily on U.S.-based e-commerce giant Amazon.
Each pair of Focals come with a ring-sized, four directional ‘Loop’ joystick that lets users control and interact with the smart glasses.
At the time of launch, North also opened two brick and mortar stores, one located in Toronto’s Ossington neighbourhood and another in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighbourhood.
Source: The Verge
Shruti Shekar is a telecom and tech reporter for MobileSyrup. She was formerly a political reporter at The Hill Times based in Ottawa and prior to that was a communications officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She loves reading, the Raptors, and all the alcohol.