Google acquires MicroLED start-up Raxium for its future AR ambitions

Google has confirmed its acquisition of Raxium, a five-year-old start-up working on MicroLED technology that could be used for creating augmented reality products.

Raxium claims on its website that its work on MicroLEDs will enable a new class of “smaller and more powerful display products”, including AR and VR micro-displays.

Following the acquisition, Raxium’s team in California will join Google’s devices and services department. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The team at Raxium has spent five years creating miniaturised, cost-effective and energy efficient high-resolution displays that have laid the foundation for future display technologies,” Google senior VP for devices and services, Rick Osterloh, said in a blogpost yesterday (4 May).

“Raxium’s technical expertise in this area will play a key role as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts,” Osterloh added.

There are many applications for MicroLED technology such as TV sets, wearable technology and headsets for augmented and virtual reality. There are predictions that the MicroLED market will surpass $1bn in revenue by 2026.

The Raxium deal was first reported in March by The Information, which said MicroLED tech could help Google create AR displays that are more energy efficient.

The tech giant has been making other moves that hint at a focus on AR technology. Last December, it was reported by 9to5Google that the company was actively hiring to create an “augmented reality OS” for an unknown “innovative AR device”.

At this time, Google hired Mark Lucovsky to lead its operating system team for augmented reality. Lucovsky shared the news on Twitter, with a link to job positions he was working to fill.

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In January, The Verge also reported that Google was ramping up work on an AR headset codenamed ‘Project Iris’. The tech giant aims to begin shipping the product in 2024, two people familiar with the matter told The Verge.

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