Qualcomm Moves to Expand Development of Augmented Reality, VCs See More Funding for Cloud Computing, Ortiva Gets $2M, & More San Diego BizTech News

6/27/11Follow @bvbigelow

Qualcomm has been funding some impressive R&D work on augmented reality (AR) at its research centers around the world. Could the technology really revolutionize the mobile graphical user interface? It’s time to find out. Your roundup begins now.

Qualcomm’s Jay Wright outlined the San Diego wireless giant’s strategy for advancing augmented reality by encouraging development across a range of applications. The combination of software and hardware that Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) has developed makes it possible to overlay images, data, and even video content over the view-screen of smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Wright, who is Qualcomm’s senior director for AR business development said, “As far as I know, we have the largest R&D effort in augmented reality in the world.”

—The California Energy Commission awarded a $2 million grant to Escondido, CA-based Transportation Power (doing business as TransPower) to design, build, and test a new low-cost, fast-energy storage technology dubbed Grid-Saver. TransPower’s prototype is projected to cost one-fifth as much as competing battery systems, and has a peak capacity of five megawatts. The grant was one of 10 R&D projects throughout California to get a total of nearly $7.5 million from the commission. The commission also gave $1 million to Combined Power Cooperative of Santee, CA, to demonstrate the company’s concentrated solar thermal power technology.

A survey of venture capitalists in the United States and eight other countries found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) expect to see a surge in capital investments in cloud computing over the next five years, with 31 percent predicting financial support of cloud computing will remain the same. The survey, conducted by the National Venture Capital Association and Ernst & Young, also shows that 64 percent of the VCs anticipate that the flow of capital into new medical and social startups will increase, and more than half (54 percent) expect to seen an increase in support for healthcare services.

Ortiva Wireless, a startup that specializes in high-performance technology for optimizing video on wireless networks, raised $2.5 million in a combination of debt and rights to acquire securities.

—Some leaders of San Diego’s cleantech and wireless health sectors were scrutinizing the Official Google Blog last week to assess the significance of the company’s decision to shut down Google Health and Google PowerMeter, two online projects that were intended to help people make smarter choices about managing their own personal health and energy use. The blog explains that neither project attained the scale that Google had sought.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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