Intel invests $62M in virtual reality, drones, mobile

intelIntel has funded a virtual-reality goggles company, a firm that uses drones to collect aerial data, and mobile audio and video companies, as part of its quest beyond the realm of traditional chips.

The $62 million in investments for 16 tech companies, unveiled Tuesday during Intel Capital’s annual global conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., comes a few weeks after Intel’s investment arm revealed $28 million in investments in several Chinese companies. Separately, Intel on Monday named the winner of its new “Make It Wearable” challenge, meant to spark innovations using its new Edison chip. Nixie, which makes a flying wearable camera, won the $500,000 grand prize.

Intel Capital expects to reach $355 million in total investments this year, adding to more than $11 billion it’s invested since 1991.

The latest funding highlights Intel’s recent focus on wearables, eye-tracking technology and mobile, as the world’s largest chipmaker works to expand its business beyond PCs, which have lost appeal as more consumers opt for smartphones and tablets. Intel makes the vast majority of its profits from PC and data-center chips, so now needs to find new places to grow. >more