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Google Acquires Smart Glasses Firm North

The focus is on ‘ambient computing.’




Google announced that it has acquired North, a pioneer in human computer interfaces and smart glasses.

“They’ve built a strong technology foundation, and we’re excited to have North join us in our broader efforts to build helpful devices and services,” said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president, devices and servicesin a statement.

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“From 10 blue links on a PC, to Maps on your mobile phone, to Google Nest Hub sharing a recipe in the kitchen, Google has always strived to be helpful to people in their daily lives,” Osterloh said. “We’re building towards a future where helpfulness is all around you, where all your devices just work together and technology fades into the background. We call this ambient computing.”

North’s technical expertise will help as Google continues to invest in its hardware efforts and ambient computing future, he said.

North will join the Google team based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, which is North’s hometown “and an area with impressive tech talent,” he said.


North was founded in 2012 as Thalmic Labs by Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant.

“Early on, our focus was on new forms of interaction with Myo, a gesture based input device that directly coupled neuro-muscular impulses into signals computers could understand,” the company’s founders said in an announcement on the North website. “We then shifted focus to Focals, our everyday smart glasses with direct retinal projection and prescription compatibility.”

They added: “We are winding down Focals 1.0 and we will not be shipping Focals 2.0, but we hope you will continue the journey with us as we start this next chapter.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].



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