Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

It’s your show: A virtual video presentation startup, mmhmm, launched in May as “a kind of joke,” but recently raised more than $31 million in funding and already has a user waitlist. During the pandemic, most of our social and business interactions moved to video chat. This app allows users to change their virtual rooms, backdrops, feature Instagram photos, show content “over your shoulder,” and share immersive slides or live videos. With a simple gesture on a trackpad, you can move your face around the screen, shrink or enlarge your image, or disappear completely. Beyond video conferences, the app can be used for bigger opportunities, like helping creators record and stream more interactive content on YouTube, TikTok, and elsewhere.

Proper LAB attire: The US Army Research Laboratory has developed augmented reality goggles for combat dogs, designed to let them receive orders at a distance. Each set of goggles is specially fit for each dog, with a visual indicator that allows the dog to be directed to a specific spot and react to the visual cue in the goggles. The goggles themselves are not new – military dogs are already used to wearing them as protection in bad conditions or for aerial drops, but the augmented reality system is a new development.

Drive my car: A U.K. startup is creating augmented reality technology for vehicles in the form of holographic displays. The company, Envisics, brings together technologies like computer vision, machine learning, big data analytics and navigation to build hardware that integrates into vehicles to project holographic displays. This provides enhanced “dashboards” of information to drivers, with features like mapping, navigation guidance, and hazard warnings. The company announced yesterday that it has raised $50 million in a Series B round of funding.

What came first, the chicken or the vegan egg: A French startup is launching a vegan egg that looks, cracks, and tastes like the real thing. Les Merveilloeufs (a play on the French words marvelous and eggs), created this 100% plant-based egg that will launch across restaurants in Paris. Unlike its competitors, their version bears the distinct yolk and whites of the traditional appearance of eggs.