The display is one of the most critical components in augmented reality hardware, and on Tuesday, one of the companies making that component, Avegant Corp., closed a funding round of $12 million to support development of next-generation AR displays.
Avegant's new funding comes as particularly good news for its team given the relatively tumultuous year for the company. In February, Avegant cut its staff down to about 20 employees in research and development and brought back founder Ed Tang to serve as CEO.
Now, instead of pushing its display technology via development kits the company introduced in Nov. 2017, the company is focusing on developing retinal display technology for the consumer segment.
"The consumer AR industry faces significant challenges developing displays that are high resolution, small form factor, large field-of-view, light field, and low power," said Tang in a statement. "The industry is excited about our unique solutions to these technical challenges, which will enable previously impossible AR experiences."
Participating in the Series AA funding round are new investors Walden SKT Venture Fund and China Walden Venture Investments III, L.P., along with existing investors.
"Many companies are trying to solve multiple, very difficult technical problems to bring AR experiences to consumers," said Andrew Kau, managing director of Walden International. "We chose to invest in Avegant because their solutions elegantly tackle these problems in creative ways that consider human factors without losing sight of manufacturability."
The augmented reality hardware industry has moved into an important point in its rapid maturation, as companies are working to develop components that fit a form factor that is aesthetically pleasing to consumers while possessing the processing power necessary to render realistic 3D content. This requires not only additional research and development, but also investors patient enough to see it all play out.
Therefore, this latest funding for Avegant bodes well for the health of the space in general in terms of the development of hardware needed to one day make wearable AR a reality for everyone.