Barry Po, director of product management at Ngrain Canada Corp., and Tim Hayes, software engineer at Ngrain Canada Corp., control Epson BT-200 augmented reality headsets. (Photo : Getty Images)
Chinese tech titan Alibaba took a better position in the augmented reality (AR) field with $6 million investment in Israeli AR firm Lumus, an AR lens maker.
A report by geektime.com said that Alibaba's investment came a month after Lumus received a $30 million Series C round from HTC and Taiwan-based electronics firm Quanta Computer.
In June, the company also got $15 million in their Series B financing round, bringing in a total of $45 million in funding for 2016.
Lumus started as a company that supplies military hardware used by pilots in their helmets for navigation and other flight needs. The company has now moved to providing lenses for the B2B AR market.
Now, it produces optical engines, a component of the AR glasses and headsets. The optical engine has two parts: a micro projected and a waveguide embedded in it. These parts are needed to enable the glasses to function. The projector sends the image to the lens while the waveguide directs it back to the eye.
It was not the first time that Alibaba made an investment in the AR field. In February, the Chinese tech giant contributed $6 million to Magic Leap's Series C round, which took a total of $250,000 funding.
The company also invested $15 million in InfinityAR in November, to support the company's effort to get back on track.
Alibaba's investment in Lumus is seen as part of efforts to set up a supply chain with other associated companies.
Alibaba is intent on becoming a leader in the AR field as the technology can be used in a range of shopping-related applications. For instance, a customer can try how a pair of pants would look even without trying them on.
At the same time, Alibaba wants to position itself as a major player in the field as AR has potential use for home devices such as Microsoft's Hololens.
According to the report, Alibaba can make use Lumus technology on other devices such as mobile phones. Lumus could display direction, weather updates and other advisories, which can be handy when driving.