China's e-commerce site Alibaba has been making heavy investments in augmented and mixed reality startups. In February of this year, they led a $793 million round of Series C financing of Magic Leap. And now they've just invested in Israeli-based InfinityAR, which acquired $18 million in its Series C financing.
If you have been blown away by using the HoloLens or watching the teaser videos Magic Leap has released, you know mixed reality headsets are impressive pieces of machinery. There is one major difference between what HoloLens or Magic Leap have shown and what InfinityAR is offering—InfinityAR has an entirely software-based engine.
InfinityAR has developed a new augmented reality solution that works with easy-to-obtain cameras and IMUs. According to the press release "This combination makes InfinityAR's engine the perfect solution for enabling all glasses with the ability to understand their surroundings. InfinityAR's engine enables vendors of AR headsets to reduce their cost, reduce motion to photon latency, and reduce power consumption, by way of using the inside-out SLAM approach."
It is apparent that Alibaba seems to understand the coming disruptive change this technology will bring with it. They have been investing heavily in both hardware and software. Personally, as a small developer, it is exciting to see companies with this kind of foresight or, at the very least, enough money to splash around "just in case."