Wave photonics, a new spin-off of imec and VUB, has completed a first capital round of 7 million euros. The investment will be used to bring immersive 3D HXR technology to market. Participating investors in the capital round include imec.xpand, Flanders Future Techfund (FFTF) and QBIC.
The demand for technology for eXtended Reality (XR) is rising enormously, partly due to the rapid progress of the ‘meta-verse’. This is a kind of 3D version of the Internet, where people are almost connected to the environment, to objects and to each other. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets can simulate such a 3D virtual world, but the holy grail of the metaverse are virtual 3D images (or holographs) that can be seen with the naked eye. Swave’s HXR (Holographic eXtended Reality) technology enables this through billions of small, densely packed pixels.
“With Swave, we want to build the holographic technology needed to bring the meta-verse to life,” says Theodore Marescaux, CEO and founder of Swave Photonics. “Swave’s HXR pixel technology will change the way we experience images and videos. People from all over the world will be able to participate in immersive video conferencing and experience a 3D experience as if they were sitting together at a conference table. “
Funding round accelerates development of revolutionary holographic eXtended Reality (HXR) technology for new immersive displays
Swave’s HXR technology is aimed at a wide range of applications: not only metaverse platforms, but also 360-degree holographic walls, 3D games, AR / VR / XR glasses, video conferencing and vehicle or aerospace screens. The Swave technology will also enable holographic headsets that deliver immersive 3D AR / VR / XR experiences with ultra-high resolution, depth of field and viewing angles from 180 to 360 degrees, all without the headaches that some users experience with conventional headsets.
Using CMOS chip technology, the new imec spin-off enables scalable and therefore cost-effective solutions. Swave offers versions with large chips (2 cm x 2 cm) for advanced holographic display applications and small 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm versions for ultralight portable devices. The first HXR chip samples are expected to be available for mass production in 2023. Future versions of HXR chips will be optimized for other new AR / VR / XR applications. To do this, Swave wants to collaborate with AR / VR / XR and metaverse platforms from technology companies.
“Swave Photonics will bring highly innovative technology to market, which we have been developing at imec for over five years,” says Luc Van den Hove, CEO of imec. “Our R&D programs and investments have already resulted in a comprehensive patent portfolio that enables Swave to excel internationally. We are very confident that with the continued support of our teams and ecosystem, Swave can become one of the major disruptions for 3D immersive displays and thus an important accelerator for applications such as metaverse. “
“This investment from our new xpand-II fund in Swave demonstrates our confidence in the holographic pixel technology,” said Peter Vanbekbergen, partner in imec.xpand. “We believe that Swave will address the current challenges in AR / VR, enabling it to earn a $ 93 billion metaverse market.”
“Swave is a great addition to the growing number of companies that put Flanders on the global map of the deep-tech industry,” says Jo Brons, Flemish Minister for Economic Affairs and Innovation. “We must offer such innovators, who are the cradle of future Flemish prosperity, any economic opportunity to grow internationally. We are therefore proud to see that Flanders Future Technology Fund (FFTF) has been able to realize its first investment in a promising company like Swave in close collaboration with deeptech investors. After all, FFTF’s mission is to accelerate the introduction of the groundbreaking technologies developed by our knowledge centers in the market. And that is exactly what we are doing with this investment in Swave. ”