Swave raises €7m as it looks to bring the Metaverse to life

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Swave Photonics, an innovator in Holographic eXtended Reality (HXR) technology, has announced a successful €7 million seed round.

The investment will be used to fund the commercialisation of immersive 3D HXR gigapixel technology for a wide range of emerging applications at a time when the demand for eXtended Reality (XR) technology is exploding with the rapid emergence of the metaverse, a 3D world where participants can interact with people, objects and places.

Swave Photonics is a spin-off of imec and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. imec is Europe's largest independent research centre in the field of nanoelectronics and digital technologies.

Imec.xpand, a venture capital fund focused on nanotechnology innovations, and Flanders Future Techfund (FFTF), a Belgian/Flemish public investment fund, co-led the seed round. QBIC, a Belgian inter-university venture capital fund also participated.

Swave’s Holographic eXtended Reality (HXR) technology is seen as a key component in the development of the metaverse, as it is able to deliver lifelike, high-resolution 3D images that are viewable with the naked eye.

HXR technology enables 1000x 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 the challenges of focal depth and eye tracking, so viewers can easily focus on nearby and faraway objects. Most importantly, the 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.

The technology can also power holographic headsets that deliver immersive 3D AR/VR/XR experiences with high resolution, perfect depth of focus and 180-degree to 360-degree viewing angles. 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. “Swave’s 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 said that it plans to partner with leading AR/VR/XR and metaverse platforms and is expanding its management and engineering teams and hiring in key areas.