Are Kura's AR glasses just a scam?
Kura's AR technology is supposed to outshine everything that has come before. But there are doubts about the start-up's promises.
Announced in 2019, Kura Gallium AR glasses were supposed to offer technical features that sound too good to be true: a 150-degree field of view, 8K resolution per eye, a brightly lit display, and high transparency. All this in a slim form factor and with amazingly low manufacturing costs.
But with the big promises came doubts about the startup's credibility. How can a small, underfunded startup create technology that corporations like Microsoft, Meta and Apple can only dream of?
The fact that Kura does not offer public demos of the AR glasses and that there are therefore no substantiated eyewitness reports causes plenty of skepticism. The startup was present at this year's CES, but according to XR analyst Brad Lynch, who was present, they only had a smartphone app with them to emulate how the finished product should feel.
Whistleblower: "All fraud"
Now Lynch has learned from a whistleblower that the start-up was sued by the former manager. The COO had not been paid for years and had even lent the company money that was never repaid. In the AR_MR_XR subreddit there is a link to documents of the court case.
The whistleblower that let me know about the ongoing lawsuit against Kura and its CEO states that "everything this company claims is false, and always has been" https://t.co/LS7txy5dUh pic.twitter.com/X90qu8zfsU
- Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) April 19, 2022
"What they are trying to achieve is simply impossible today and Kura management misled many people in the industry and beyond about it," Lynch's informant writes. The startup's claims have always been false, they say.
Mass production should have started in 2021
The last time Kura was heard from was in early 2021, when co-founder and CEO Kelly Peng confirmed the technical specifications in an interview. At that time, she indicated the end of 2021 as the start of mass production of the Kura Gallium. The plan was to produce 100,000 to one million devices, but nothing more was heard of that.
Peng is active on Twitter, but has not commented on the latest rumors. On the short message service, she wears the same motto as Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. It stems from Yoda in Star Wars: "Do or do not, there's no try."
According to Crunchbase, the startup has been funded with five million U.S. dollars so far. Earlier this year, Kura reportedly received financial support from Silicon Catalyst and other institutions. The amount is not known.