Tech Roundup / Your Wig Wants You to Hang a Left

Sony is out for your scalp; the Chicken King eyes TV; XTR3D raises cash; banking on Israeli brains.

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One goat-fur blood-pressure scalp cuff to go, please: Never mind your phone and its navigation apps: that’s so 2013. So are hairdressers, apparently - Wouldn’t you just love to wear a smart rug? Yes! Sony is working on a U.S. patent for its “SmartWig” hairpiece, Bloomberg reported late last week. And what will this clever cap do? Depending on the model of this hirsute wearable computer- three prototypes are in the works - anything from navigation or checking your blood pressure to calling your mother, it seems. The envisioned wigs contain sensors and communication interfaces, covered by hair – and that hair could be animal, vegetable or mineral, from fiberglass feathers to yak hair, Sony explains in its patent application.

Rami Levy Cable? Rami Levy is a retailer who burst onto the Israeli mass-hysteria, oh sorry, mass-media scene when he broke the back of the chicken market. While other chains were offering fresh fowl for around NIS 20 per kilo some years back, Levy charged NIS 1. He definitely got the nation’s attention. As customers flocked to his deep-discount stores, he also opened a mobile-communications company  based on low, low prices. Now he’s eyeing the boob tube. Last week, speaking on radio, Levy said he wants to get into low-cost multichannel TV. So, he explained, he wants to offer “Internet, quality television and, we’re going to surprise here too, we will enable customers to connect to TV through the Internet at a fraction of the current price.” It’s a work in progress, Levy told Haaretz: Negotiations with content providers are under way. Stay tuned.

Extreme Reality raises $10 million: Most companies are content with just one name, but perhaps it’s fitting that Israeli gaming-technology startup Extreme Reality has two – that, and XTR3D. Makes it easier to find on the Internet, this is true. Anyway, the startup, which developed a NUI - that’s Natural User Interface - system to provide 3-D motion analysis for use with your lousy old 2-D camera, raised $10 million in its fourth funding round, bringing total financing for the 6-year-old firm to $24 million. This round’s main backer was the Marker fund, an Israeli vehicle, but Texas Instruments is also on board.

Tata and Sandisk bank on Israeli brains: Chipmaker Sandisk and Indian conglomerate Tata are among the backers of Momentum, a fund launched by Ramot, the Tel Aviv University technology commercialization company. Momentum has raised $17 million toward its goal of investing between $250,00 and $750,000 in each of a number of university research projects with commercial potential. The fund hopes to raise $20 million. Tata alone put up $5 million and Sandisk put in millions more. Investments should start in January.

Pelephone hikes prices of overseas calling plans: Pelephone, a subsidiary of the Bezeq phone company, has increased the price of its “travel” plan by 16%. The one-time initial payment of NIS 49 has remained the same, but the usage costs have gone up: One minute of call time, one text message or one megabyte of data - to surf the Internet, update your Facebook status or send out photos, say - now costs 89 agorot, up from 75 agorot. Pelephone insists its prices still beat those of the competition.

Giving new meaning to the term "artificial intelligence." Sony has high hopes for its highly communicative hairpieces.Credit: Bloomberg