€7M to deliver truly realistic AR/VR
Swave, a new Imec and VUB spin-off, addresses applications like the metaverse
Swave Photonics, an innovator in holographic extended reality (HXR) technology to bring the metaverse to life, announced a seven million euro seed round. The investment will be used to fund the commercialization of truly realistic, immersive 3D HXR gigapixel technology for a wide range of emerging applications. The demand for extended reality (XR) technology that enhances or replaces the view of the world is exploding with the rapid emergence of the metaverse, a 3D world where participants can interact with people, objects and places and other applications benefiting from truly realistic 3D experiences. Swave Photonics is a new spin-off of Imec and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a fabless semiconductor company that designs and markets holographic chips based on proprietary diffractive photonics technology.
Swave’s holographic extended reality (HXR) technology is considered the holy grail of the metaverse, delivering lifelike, high-resolution 3D images that are viewable with the naked eye, with no compromises. HXR technology enables thousand-times better pixel resolution with billions of tiny, densely packed pixels to enable true realistic 20/20 vision without requiring viewers to wear smart AR/VR headsets or prescription glasses. Swave’s HXR technology projects lifelike holographic images that eliminate today’s AR/VR/XR challenges of focal depth and eye tracking, so viewers can easily focus on nearby and faraway objects. Most importantly, the HXR chips are manufactured using standard CMOS technology, which enables cost-effective scaling.
Leveraging advances in photonics and holography based on diffractive optics, Swave’s HXR gigapixel technology targets metaverse platforms, 360-degree holographic walls, 3D gaming, AR/VR/XR glasses, collaborative video conferencing, and heads-up displays for automotive and aerospace systems. Swave technology can also power holographic headsets that deliver immersive 3D AR/VR/XR experiences with stunning high resolution, perfect depth of focus and 180-degree to 360-degree viewing angles, all without the headaches experienced by users of conventional headsets. Applications powered by HXR gigapixel technology will be capable of passing the visual Turing test in which virtual reality is practically indistinguishable from real-world images that humans see with their own eyes.
“Our vision is to help build the fundamental holographic technology to bring the metaverse to life and work,” said Theodore Marescaux, CEO and founder, Swave Photonics. “Our HXR gigapixel technology will forever change the way we see and experience displayed still images, videos and live imaging. True, lifelike and immersive metaverse experiences powered by Swave technology are poised to replace every AR/VR display and headset to the point where virtual, augmented or eXtended reality is practically indistinguishable from the real world.”
Swave’s HXR gigapixel technology will play a key role in the future of work by enabling people everywhere to engage in immersive video conferences while working remotely. Swave plans to partner with leading AR/VR/XR and metaverse platforms, so companies can have a shared, lifelike 3D experience of meeting around a conference table.
“We are convinced that Swave can bring to the market a fundamental technology we have been developing for more than five years through substantial R&D programs and Imec investments,” said Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of Imec. “We have a strong track record of innovation and productization that can scale across a wide range of applications. Swave can become one of the biggest disruptors for immersive 3D displays and a key accelerator for applications like the metaverse.”
“As a co-lead investor in this seed round, investing from our brand-new xpand-II fund, we are helping to build and grow a disruptive, deep-tech holographic company,” said Peter Vanbekbergen, a partner at Imec.xpand. “We are convinced that Swave’s transformative gigapixel holographic technology can fuel the 93 billion dollar AR/VR metaverse market and will position the company to enable an upgrade to today’s challenging AR/VR immersive experiences.”
Participating investors in the initial seed round include Imec.xpand, a value-add venture capital fund focused on nanotechnology innovations and Flanders Future Techfund (FFTF), a Belgian/Flemish public investment fund, are co-leading this seed round. QBIC, a Belgian inter-university venture capital fund is also participating.
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