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Google boosts Glass with patents from controversial Apple partner Foxconn

Google is likely looking to boost its Glass eyewear with the purchase of patents from Foxconn — a primary Apple manufacturer.

Taipei-based Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.) has confirmed the sale of patents for wearable technology used in gaming and training simulations.

According to the company, the portfolio consists of Head Mounted Display (HMD) tech — a computer-generated image superimposed on a real-world view. The system is commonly used in aviation and tactical/ground displays, engineering and scientific design applications, gaming and video devices, and training and simulation tools.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The move comes about a month after Google invested in chipmaker Himax to help boost production of the company's liquid crystal on silicon chips and modules, which are in Google Glass.

When the deal closes, Google will own a 6.3 per cent stake in Taiwan-based Himax Display Inc., (HDI) a subsidiary of Himax Technologies, Inc., though it could own up to 14.8 per cent if it exercises the right to make an additional investment after one year.

At this point, Himax Technologies owns 81.5 per cent of HDI; other investors include KPCB Holdings, Khosla Ventures, and Intel Capital Corporation.

Google Glass, still in its infancy, is available only to the select few developers and lucky Glass Explorers who forked over $1,500 (£960) to test out the wearable gear.

Enthusiasts have been hard at work coming up with new uses and apps for Glass, the latest of which is Connecticut-based Mutualink, Inc., which showed off how the futuristic glasses can help law enforcement and emergency personnel.

In April, Microsoft inked a deal with Hon Hai that allows the Taiwan-based firm to produce devices - like smartphones, tablets, and TVs - that include technology covered by Microsoft's patents for Android and Chrome OS.

The following month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Foxconn was making an aggressive effort to find new opportunities beyond contract jobs, from brand-name electronics accessories to investments in media content and software.