Mar 28, 2017 | By Julia
Augmented reality (AR) startup Lightform emerged from stealth mode yesterday with news of $2.6 million in seed funding. As the first developers of a computer specially made for AR, also known as projection mapping, the San Francisco-based startup has been on the tech industry’s radar for some time.
Up until now, the Lightform team was keeping relatively quiet about their new AR innovation: a computer and 3D scanning device that, when connected to any video projector, can quickly scan complex scenes and transform any object into a projection screen.
“It’s augmented reality without the headset,” promise Lightform reps in a statement.
Now the California-based company has come forward with exciting news that it’s secured $2.6 million in seed funding from Lux Capital and Seven Seas Partners, as well as several private investors and the National Science Foundation.
By all accounts, Lightform intends to plough steadily ahead with its mission of creating simple, powerful tools that connect the real and digital worlds.
“While at Disney Imagineering eight years ago, I saw a demo of projected AR that was the most compelling VR/AR demo I've ever seen," says Lightform co-founder and CEO Brett Jones.
“There was an entire enchanted forest set covered in projection, with lightning and rain, butterflies fluttering across the scene, and a running waterfall. My co-worker threw his ID into the waterfall, and I swore that the ID was wet. The problem was the demo cost millions and only Disney could build it. That's when I knew I wanted to bring this technology everywhere."
And Disney’s only part of the story. The Lightform team boasts years of projection mapping experience that ranges from large scale entertainment to PhD research. Alongside Disney Imagineering, Lightform staff have cut their teeth at Bot & Dolly’s and Microsoft, as well as the popular blog Projection Mapping Central.
Using advanced computer vision, Lightform aims to simplify the projection mapping process. “We believe projected light can be inherently more interesting than a flat screen because it can be overlaid on the existing environment," says Phil Reyneri, Design Director at Lightform. This enables designers to blend digital content with existing materials and structures around them, he continued.
The Lightform team vows to democratize the medium of projection mapping so that it can be used pervasively across film, art, education, cultural exhibits, and even home entertainment and weddings.
While a highly ambitious goal, Lightform is already well on its way to success. The news of their newly secured funding is symbolic not only for financial reasons: as the San Francisco startup officially emerges from stealth mode, they’re sending a message that they’re ready to go big or go home.
Posted in 3D Scanning
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