Tier one consumer companies, Apple, LG, and Valve, are investing in a firm called eMagin that makes OLED microdisplays used in the field of medicine and military. As per the firm’s documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, eMagin wants to shift its focus to the consumer segment by offering components for the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets.
In its filing, eMagin states, “We entered into strategic agreements with multiple Tier One consumer product companies for the design and development of microdisplays for consumer head-mounted devices and, together with these companies, negotiated with mass production manufacturers for higher volume production capabilities.” Apple, LG, and Valve are listed in the ‘specified investors’ column in the filing.
The investment comes across as the next step in the tech giants’ pursuit of their big AR and VR dreams. According to a report by Cnet, these companies are making an investment of $10 million for the development of OLED microdisplays for their upcoming headsets.
Last year, Apple entered the AR/VR segment when it introduced its ARKit for developers to help create an immersive ecosystem of games and experiences which are immersive and leverage the existing platform of smartphones. The company is expected to launch its first-ever AR headset by 2020.
As for standalone headsets, the company has already filed for a number of patents which are indicative for the company’s keen interest in the technology. Apple CEO Tim Cook has also spoken about the company’s interest swinging more towards the non-intrusive AR technology than VR technology.
LG, on the other hand, partnered Valve last year to develop a VR head-mounted display using the game developer’s SteamVR Tracking technology. Called LG UltraGear, the headset is one of the first devices to be a high-end tethered VR headset, other than the HTC Vive.