Dublin, Tuesday June 12th, 2018 – Volograms Ltd., a new spin-out from Trinity College Dublin and a High Performance Start-Up with Enterprise Ireland that operates in the promising, rapidly developing field of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR and VR), has secured its first seed investment of €600,000. The capital, led by Atlantic Bridge and the University Bridge Fund, will help the company take its next-gen technology to market.
Volograms Ltd. has developed a means of taking a set of videos captured from different viewpoints and transforming them into volumetric holograms (or volograms) that can be visualised in VR & AR environments. Key advantages of its system are that it works with different camera configurations, in outdoor or indoor scenarios, and can even generate VR/AR content with hand-held consumer devices. There are many applications of this technology, which include VR and AR digital productions, fan engagement for brands, and use in enterprise scenarios such as professional education and training.
Volograms Ltd. is the result of several years of research in the areas of free-viewpoint video, computer vision and computer graphics, and was founded by post-doctoral researchers in Trinity’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, Dr Rafael Pagés, Dr Jan Ondřej and Dr Konstantinos Amplianitis. The founding team all have extensive technical and commercial experience and worked together at the SFI Research Centre, V-SENSE, which is led by Professor of Creative Technologies at Trinity, Professor Aljosa Smolic, who will continue to work with the company as Scientific Advisor.
Atlantic Bridge Partner, Chris Horn, and Vice President and General Manager of DAQRI International (the world’s leading professional-grade augmented reality company), Paul Sweeney, will both join the Volograms Ltd. Board.
The VR and AR market is forecast to be worth $108 billion by 2021, having had a value of less than $5 billion in 2016. Big technology players, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple are investing heavily towards bringing VR and AR devices to consumers. AR has even been dubbed the “8th mass media” – the next computing platform, which looks to grow as big as the smartphone. However, most of the content available in VR and AR is currently based on synthetic models created by 3D artists, or static scenes captured through 3D scanning. For AR to become mainstream, we need tools to capture dynamic 3D content from the real world, which will shape the way we communicate in the future. The technology developed by Volograms Ltd. does just this.
Commenting on the investment, Volograms Ltd. CEO, Rafael Pagés, said: “For AR to become the next computing platform, as experts envision, there have to be easier ways to create content for it. We believe there is a need for tools to capture real-world content for AR and VR and we are excited that our breakthrough technology can close the content gap. The investment and support from Atlantic Bridge and the University Bridge Fund will enable us to bring our technology to a variety of customers on a global scale.”
Dr Chris Horn, Atlantic Bridge, said: “Atlantic Bridge is delighted to welcome Volograms to our growing portfolio of early-stage companies in the University Fund. The company strongly represents the commercial strength of world-class academic research undertaken in Trinity and illustrates how Atlantic Bridge can accelerate and scale early-stage companies internationally.”
Head of Commercial Partnerships and Technology Transfer at Trinity, Dr Declan Weldon, said: “Volograms is a product of great teamwork and excellent science happening at the right time. Add to that the University Bridge Fund and the High Performance Start-Up support from Enterprise Ireland and you create the right ecosystem for this disruptive technology to take on a global challenge.”