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This Finnish startup is developing lightweight AR smart glasses that could replace smartphones, picks £24.2M


Replacing cell phones with smart glasses isn’t a viable option… yet. Meanwhile, advances in photonics are assisting in the expansion of the usage of smart glasses in educational, medical, military, and industrial settings.

Dispelix, an Espoo-based startup that develops waveguide design technology in Finland, has raised €28.4M(£24.2M) in a Series B fundraising round which was led by Atlantic Bridge. It also saw participation from new investors CCB Trust and Flashpoint along with existing investors – Lifeline Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, VTT Ventures, and 3M Ventures.

The company focuses on augmented reality applications and develops single-layer waveguides and see-through screens. The additional funds will be utilised to expand the company’s capabilities to serve more OEM clients. The company has amassed a total of €43.2M(£36.9M) to date.

Antti Sunnari, the co-founder and CEO of Dispelix said: “Our proprietary see-through display technology is a critical enabler for augmented reality products such as smart-glasses, where weight, display quality, and form factor are important considerations.” These are usually done through the use of light-weight single-layer optics, which is the speciality, and we are now preparing to scale these capabilities for mass production for our clients’ upcoming consumer offerings. This increased investment will enable us to better and faster handle more OEM clients,he further added.

Waveguide display technology used in AR

Without delving too deeply into the underlying photonics and optics physics, the Dispelix employs a nanophotonics-based waveguide technique to create a single layer, full-color waveguide display. It is quite light in weight and small in size and can easily slip into a pair of AR glasses.

Dispelix’s patent portfolio, which includes 43 granted or pending patent families, is being integrated into a growing number of consumer products being developed by the company’s OEM clients, with these items slated to hit the market in 2023, the company said in a press note.

Juuso Olkkonen, the CTO and co-founder of the company explained: “The see-through displays from Dispelix are the thinnest and the lightest on the market, with vibrant colours, image quality, and a broad field of vision. With our stockpile of novel software and hardware range, our team of world-class scientists and engineers continue to push the frontiers of what’s possible, profoundly transforming the way nanophotonics-based waveguides are created and delivered to the joy of our clients.”

Founded in 2015, Dispelix powers cutting-edge augmented reality experiences. The new firm is based in Finland, but it also has operations in China, Taiwan, and San Francisco in the United States.

Paul Murray, Partner with Atlantic Bridge, stated: “The investment in Dispelix happened because they have a unique mix of technologies which gives better end-user experience for mixed reality smart-glasses and other AR devices. Their ability to scale these advantages for their growing list of OEMs will be a crucial enabler in the adoption of next-generation mixed reality platforms and in helping to realise the Metaverse’s promise.”

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