Kitchener, Ont., tech company, manufacturer acquired by Google
The North Inc. building on Gaukel Street in Kitchener seen on June 30, 2020. (Dave Pettitt / CTV Kitchener)
KITCHENER -- A Kitchener smart glasses maker has been acquired by Google after eight years in the tech game.
North, which started as Thalmic Labs in 2012, announced the news alongside a Google announcement on June 30.
The announcement from Google calls North, "a pioneer in human computer interfaces and smart glasses."
The company started with a focus on a device called Myo, a gesture-based device that strapped onto a user's forearm and allowed them to compute with their movements.
North then shifted its focus to Focals smart glasses, which the company says it will be winding down after the acquisition.
At one point the company had some 400 employees, but in February of 2019 it announced it was downsizing, something a Communitech spokesperson said at the time was "not uncommon" for a young company.
In its announcement, Google's Senior Vice President of Devices and Services, Rick Osterloh, says the decision was made to help it work towards "ambient computing."
"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," Osterloh explains.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic chimed in on Twitter to congratulate the founders of North Stephen Lake, Aaron Grant and Matthew Bailey.
North's team will join Google's team in Kitchener.