DigiLens raises $22 million to make ‘eyeglass-thin’ augmented reality displays3rockAR Team
DigiLens has raised $22 million to create “eyeglass-thin” AR displays for motorcycle helmets, car windshields, AR smartglasses and other innovations.
CEO Jonathan Waldern said in an interview, “We enable a massive reduction in size and form factor. This funding allows us to expand our scope to focus on the next areas.” DigiLens plans to use strategic relationships with investors like Sony, Foxconn and Panasonic to bring to market several AR displays and sensors for enterprise, consumer and transportation applications that project “data on glass.”
Display technology maker DigiLens has raised $22 million to create better augmented and virtual reality products in which digital information lies on top of transparent glass. The Sunnyvale, California-based company makes diffractive optical waveguide technology and nanomaterials for AR and VR, which could be a $108 billion market by 2021, according to tech advisor Digi-Capital. DigiLens’ technology can enable “eyeglass-thin” AR heads-up displays for motorcycle helmets, car windshields, VR headsets, aerospace applications such as fighter jets, and AR smartglasses, said Jonathan Waldern, CEO of DigiLens, in an interview with VentureBeat.
“The next generation display technology will be glass. Data on glass is a critical capability for augmented and mixed reality applications such as gaming, navigation, telepresence, education, industrial, medical and military,” said Gilman Louie, Founder and Managing Director of Alsop Louie Partners and lead investor. “Data on glass is being revolutionized by DigiLens’ full-color and wide field of view optics and AR-HUD breakthroughs.”
“The use of DigiLens waveguide technology will help us develop cutting-edge lenses that are much thinner and more transparent than any smart glass on the market today,” said Hiroshi Mukawa, General Manager of the AR Eyeglass Program at Sony Corp.
“We believe augmented reality HUDs will not only enhance driver safety, but also accelerate automated driving acceptance by enhancing the driver’s confidence in what the car actually sees and knows,” said Helmut Matschi, Executive Board Member and Head of the Interior Division at Continental. “The large AR-HUD display will help keep drivers safe by putting critical travel information at eye level and allowing them to see what the robot car sees.”
“Augmented reality is a challenge, in part, because the devices are restrained by the laws of physics and not Moore’s Law. We think diffractive optics holds the key to AR, but writing millions of tiny optic structures is best done photographically, using nano self-assembly, not expensive precision etching like HoloLens. We need to break the manufacturing price barrier,” said Dr. G. Chen, CTO at Foxconn. “With DigiLens waveguide diffractive optics, they seem to have overcome most nagging technical problems and we see a very bright future for them.”
“We have supported DigiLens for several years and continue to believe their technology will address the complex challenge of delivering advanced diffractive optics for automotive and consumer HUDs,” said Hakan Kostepen, Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation at Panasonic Silicon Valley Center, Automotive Systems America.