DigiLens, a Sunnyvale, California-based startup building shows for augmented actuality (AR) units, right now introduced that it is shut a $50 million oversubscribed sequence C round led by Common Exhibit Corporation’s UDC Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Pokémon Go creator Niantic, Continental AG, Sony Innovation Fund, and Mitsubishi’s Diamond Edge Ventures. It additional than doubled the Sunnyvale, California-primarily based company’s previous $22 million elevate in January 2017, and it brings DigiLens’ venture funds haul to date to above $100 million.
CEO Chris Pickett mentioned the contemporary funds will gasoline the growth of its display technological innovation for car, business, customer, avionics and military services brands. “These partnerships present the ecosystem that permits our know-how to go into a wide variety of different [displays] in a variety of various form elements,” he included.
DigiLens’ premiere item is a holographic waveguide display made up of a slim-film, laser-etched photopolymer embedded with microscopic holograms of mirror-like optics. A micro-display is projected into one conclude of the lens and the optics flip the mild wave, guiding it through the area ahead of another established of optics turn it again towards the eye.
DigiLens refined this method nearly ten decades back, it says, when it was collaborating with Rockwell Collins to build avionic HUD systems for the U.S. navy. A lot more lately, the organization devised a photopolymer material and holographic copy procedure that permits it to make diffractive optics with printers, which have a tendency to be less costly than regular precision-etching devices.
“UDC Ventures and Samsung Ventures have identified by way of this financial commitment that DigiLens is the frontrunner in waveguide technology and the only waveguide that can get to a shopper cost point by way of its proprietary photopolymer, style software program, and modern producing procedure,” said Pickett.
In January, DigiLens shown its Crystal AR prototype, a eyeglasses-like sort component that connects via a USB-C to a smartphone, computing puck, notebook, or desktop. It weighs in at 50 % a pound and uses two levels for the total-coloration waveguide, which delivers a fairly narrow 30-diploma field of check out but is substantially more cost-effective than typical supplies. In truth, DigiLens thinks products and solutions like Crystal AR could one particular working day sell for $500, or around 5 to 10 periods much less than rival heads-up displays on the current market like the Magic Leap One Creator Version or Microsoft HoloLens.
DigiLens’ white label resolution for auto organizations, in the meantime, can create a holographic waveguide that is about a 50 percent a meter by 320 millimeters long, or huge ample for a car or truck windshield but compact ample to fit below a dashboard. The company suggests that these kinds of shows could generate colored arrows to notify motorists exactly where to change next, so that they do not have to seem at their telephones.
DigiLens doesn’t intend to manufacture and sell AR devices itself. Alternatively, it intends to license its technologies throughout a selection of industries. Toward that conclusion, it is previously building nanomaterials for clear, augmented truth (AR) displays for many undisclosed purchasers.
DigiLens has competition in TruLife Optics, WaveOptics, and Colorado-based mostly Akonia Holographics, the latter of which expended a 10 years (and $100 million) unsuccessfully pursuing holographic storage right before pivoting to shows. For its aspect, WaveOptics lifted $26 million past December to equipment up for the start of its lower-expense AR components merchandise lineup.
But Pickett anticipates that items incorporating DigiLens’ know-how will conquer most — if not all — many others to market. It is focusing on late 2019, with further launches envisioned in 2020 and 2022.
“We are thrilled to spouse with DigiLens as they carry on to focus on enabling a variety of substantial progress markets with their patented holographic waveguide shows,” said Common Screen Corporation president and CEO Steven V. Abramson, who will turn out to be a board advisor as section of the financial commitment. “With parallels to our possess company, we glimpse ahead to doing work with each other to provide best-in-course remedies to numerous industries and to collaborate on the potential of OLED technologies in just the augmented and virtual actuality display sector.”
DigiLens says it’s at present doing work with licensed waveguide producer Young Optics of Taiwan ODM and electronics provider Malata of China and pico exhibit producer Sekonix of Korea, whose modules leverage Texas Devices DLP Pico goods. By a strategic partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical, it is acquiring a plastic material for “high refractive” waveguide displays that it expects will be lighter, fewer high-priced, and “nearly unbreakable.”
“We are developing our infrastructure, so we can enter various markets at the same time,” Pickett informed VentureBeat in a former job interview.