Augmented reality filters are popping up everywhere -- from the NFL's partnership with Snapchat to YouTube's beauty filters for creators. But AR headsets seem to be struggling. Today, TechCrunch reports that another well-funded AR headset startup is shutting down. Daqri, the company behind the Android-powered smart hard hat, has closed its headquarters, laid off employees and plans to sell its assets.
At one point, the Wall Street Journal reported that Daqri had raised as much as $275 million in funding. But according to TechCrunch, investors have caught on to the technical difficulties of creating AR headsets and are less interested in funding AR startups. Earlier this year, the AR headset startup Meta, which had raised $73 million from venture capitalists, sold its assets to an unknown buyer. The startup Osterhout Design Group seemed to be off to a good start and was working with big-name partners, but it quickly burned through $58 million in funding. Last we heard, it was selling off its patents.
Major players like Microsoft and Lenovo have shifted their focus to enterprise customers, and Qualcomm made a headset to remind people that it has an AR chip. Code from iOS 13 confirms that Apple is testing an AR headset, but even Apple has kept quiet about those plans. It's clear that developing AR hardware isn't easy, and with two of the leading startups closing their doors, it may be up to bigger companies, like Apple, Micorosoft of Lenovo, to lead the way.