Google Acquires Smart Glass Maker North

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KITCHENER-WATERLOO, Canada—Google announced Tuesday that it has acquired North, a pioneer in human computer interfaces and smart glasses. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a post on the Google blog Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president, devices and services, credited North with having built a “a strong technology foundation” that Google will use to build “helpful devices and services. North’s technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future,” Osterloh wrote.

“They'll join the Google team based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada—North’s hometown and an area with impressive tech talent. We're excited to welcome our new colleagues, and committed to the growing global tech community of Kitchener-Waterloo," he said.

In a statement on North website, Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant, called the acquisition by Google “a terrific fit.” They recalled the progress that North, originally known as Thalmic Labs, has made since they co-founded it in 2012.

“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. We then shifted focus to Focals, our everyday smart glasses with direct retinal projection and prescription compatibility.”

The North executives said they are “winding down” their original “everyday” smart glass, known as Focals 1.0 and will not be shipping Focals 2.0, which had been scheduled for release in 2020. They said they hoped customers who bought Focals 1.0 “will continue the journey with us as we start this next chapter.”