WaveOptics, a UK-based firm involved in designing and engineering optics for augmented reality, has today announced a successful series B funding round amounting to £12.0m ($15.7m). Investors include Touchstone Innovations, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GMBH, Octopus Investments, and Gobi Ventures.
The company is currently developing AR glasses using holographic waveguide technology, a nano-scale technique that the company says can superimpose digital imagery across endless optical shapes, sizes, and surfaces with full color imagery and peripheral vision. WaveOptics says its technology provides an “unsurpassed field of view.”
As of November last year, WaveOptics reported a maximum field of view of 40°, saying the road map for 2017 would promise a larger field of view to come.
Unlike conventional AR tech that necessarily relies on prisms or mirrors to reflect light from a display, WaveOptics’ holographic waveguide technology is able to actually channel light from a micro-display positioned at the periphery of a glass, or what the company says in the future could also be a plastic lens. This is accomplished by embedding holographic, mirror-like optical channels throughout the AR lens. Much like a fiber-optic, the light is transmitted from the source display directly in front of the user’s eye, which from a design perspective allows the headset’s size to diminish drastically, fitting into a package as compact as something approaching a regular pair of glasses.
“WaveOptics is reinventing the AR market, by developing a series of new AR display technologies that enables a wider field of view and brighter full colour images – a unique combination in today’s market,” said Martin Harriman, Chairman of WaveOptics. “This funding round further accelerates development of our industry-leading technologies and enables us to launch programmes in new markets and territories.
Waveguide technology in general is already in use in some form across several projects, including Microsoft HoloLens, Vuzix M3000, and even the secretive Magic Leap has filed patents using waveguide to display digital imagery.
Waveguide optics manufacturer DigiLens recently closed a $22m funding round lead by Foxconn, Sony, Continental and Panasonic.