Augmented reality and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Magic Leap, the secretive startup based in Dania, FL (👋 there, short drive away!) is in the news again for another massive round of investment of $793.5m led by Alibaba. Virtual/augmented/mixed reality in general is set to be at the forefront this year as Facebook-acquired Oculus Rift finally releases its $600 gear. HTC and Sony will also be releasing their respective VR headsets.

What makes Magic Leap very special is not only the money it has raised – an impressive $1.4B with no product yet – but also its technology. Existing VR tricks the eyes by showing a different image of the same object to each eye (stereoscopic 3D). Magic Leap meanwhile shines light directly into the retina, blending with the light received from the real world. This tricks the brain which makes actual and projected objects indistinguishable. Imagine talking to your parents in your living room, except they live 5000 miles away. Not a lot of people have seen this technology firsthand but those that have tend to be super excited about it.

Needless to say, I am watching this closely. In the meantime, I’ll be anxiously waiting for the Rift and will be trying out a watered down VR for interior design from Modsy because online furniture buying still has a few hurdles.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail.

In tech:

  1. Alphabet: Alphabet Surpasses Apple as the World’s Most Valuable Company; Google’s self-driving cars drive three million miles a day, without leaving the lab; Here’s How Much Google Has Spent on Robot Cars, Internet Balloons, Its Anti-Aging Lab and So On
  2. Microsoft Plumbs Ocean’s Depths to Test Underwater Data Center
  3. Airbnb pays Paris €1.2m in tourist taxes
  4. Russian cosmonauts ready for ISS spacewalk
  5. LinkedIn acquires recruiting startup Connectifier

In retail:

  1. GrubHub Revenue Soars 36.3% in Q4 Earnings
  2. PVH spends $172m on Tommy Hilfiger’s Chinese partner
  3. Online fashion retailer Nasty Gal cuts 10% of staff
  4. Ralph Lauren’s stock stumbles after missing sales expectations, cutting outlook
  5. American Apparel losses widen amid bankruptcy process
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