VC Pay Surged Again in 2021, but Future Jumps Are in Jeopardy

A waveguide lens, photographed showing a hint of the holographic coating. Photo: DigiLens
Reality Check
Apple AR/VR

AR Company DigiLens Jumps in Value; Apple’s Sideloading Ire

Photo: A waveguide lens, photographed showing a hint of the holographic coating. Photo: DigiLens

Samsung Electronics is leading a funding round for DigiLens, valuing the AR display tech firm at more than $500 million, we learned today. Samsung’s involvement signals that the South Korean hardware giant may be readying to debut AR glasses in the near future.

DigiLens has worked for years on the development of transparent waveguides, which have emerged as the front-running technology for transparent displays in AR glasses. The big tech firms pursuing AR each have their own strategy for the tech. Meta is investing in its own waveguide research and development, Apple bought a waveguide company in 2018 and then Snap followed up by buying WaveOptics for $500 million earlier this year. Google is also hiring for waveguide designers, suggesting that the laser beam display tech used by North (which Google bought last year) may be put off to the side. 

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