Alibaba acquires Israeli AR startup

Chinese ecommerce group Alibaba has acquired an Israeli augmented reality (AR) startup for an undisclosed sum.

InfinityAR has created a platform for AR glasses that allows developers to integrate AR into their apps. Its products include software for original equipment and design manufacturers, as well as a software development kit for three-dimensional engines.

InfinityAR claims its engine gives all AR glasses the ability to understand their surroundings. Credit: InfinityAR

Launched in 2013 and headquartered in Ramat Gan, Israel, InfinityAR has worked with Alibaba since 2016, when the ecommerce group led startup’s $18 million investment round.

InfinityAR’s research and development team will now work in Alibaba’s lab in Israel, which is exploring fundamental technologies such as computer vision and navigation.

Over the past year, the Alibaba lab has partnered with Tel Aviv University to advance studies in video analysis and machine learning.

Motti Kushnir, chief executive officer and co-founder of InfinityAR, said of the acquisition: “We look forward to be joining Alibaba, a world-class innovative global technology company, and as part of the company’s Israel Machine Vision Laboratory.”

He added, potentially noting Alibaba’s intention to combine AR with other technologies: “Alibaba’s expertise in turning technologies into next generation products will be a great platform for the future technologies of computer vision, AR and AI.”

“The talented team brings unique knowhow in sensor fusion, computer vision and navigation technologies. We look forward to exploring these leading technologies and offering additional benefits to customers, partners and developers.”

Professor Lihi Zelnik-Manor, head of the Alibaba Israel Machine Vision Laboratory

Professor Lihi Zelnik-Manor, head of the Alibaba Israel Machine Vision Laboratory, added: “Alibaba is delighted to be working with InfinityAR as one team after three years of partnership. The talented team brings unique knowhow in sensor fusion, computer vision and navigation technologies. We look forward to exploring these leading technologies and offering additional benefits to customers, partners and developers.”

InfinityAR envisions AR glasses being a part of everyday life, from driving to shooting (and cheating at!) pool. Take a look:

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