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St. John's tech start-up ready to 'disrupt' the global display industry

This image from Avalon Holographic's website shows how light field display could be used to provide 3D images to assist in industrial design.
This image from Avalon Holographic's website shows a concept illustration of how its light-field display could be used to provide 3D images to assist in industrial design. - Contributed

A St. John’s-based tech start-up whose aim is to “fundamentally disrupt” a global industry worth $150 billion says it is well on its way to that goal with the release of its first-generation light-field display.

Wally Haas - Contributed
Wally Haas - Contributed

 

Avalon Holographics says the 29-inch development system represents a significant milestone in realizing a fully immersive, natural 3D experience.

“Despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented, it’s an exciting time for our company,” said president and co-founder Wally Haas in a news release.

“Our prototype serves as proof of concept and we’re excited to show the world how natural 3D light-field displays will change the way we produce, view and understand visual content.

“Our goal is to fundamentally disrupt the $150-B global display industry, and our prototype launch signals that we’re well on the way.”

The advanced holographic display system is designed to present 3D content without the need for accessories such as glasses or headsets.

The scene from the movie
The scene from the movie

 

It may be even easier to conceptualize if you have seen the movie “Iron Man 2.” because that is what brought Haas his inspiration.

He was watching Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr. in the movie) visualizing atoms holographically, about to discover a new element.

That got Haas wondering how a Hollywood concept could be achieved in reality.

The eventual result of that musing is a prototype that Avalon Holographics says was designed in collaboration with partners in defence, medical imaging and industrial design, areas where it remains engaged in active projects.

But while these represent early target markets, the company says there are wider-scale future applications for the technology.

“Our early adopters are on the forefront of their respective industries,” says co-founder and vice-president of business development Russ Baker, “but the long-term potential and applications for our technology are tremendous — from both an enterprise and consumer perspective.

“We’re building light-field displays that will eventually replace many of the screens that we use today.”

It's fairly plain looking — black and rectangular — bu the people at Avalon Holograhics say this prototype light field display system is poised to be groundbreaking. - Contributed
It's fairly plain looking — black and rectangular — bu the people at Avalon Holograhics say this prototype light field display system is poised to be groundbreaking. - Contributed

 

Avalon has participated in three Canadian government Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) projects, one of which has moved to a second stage. And over the last three years, the federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, has invested over $5 million in Avalon Holographics to support several projects, including research and development for new technology, product development, and initiatives to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on its business.

“From health care to defence, and so many industries in between, Avalon Holographics is leading the way while creating jobs here at home,” Natural Resources Minister and MP for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl Seamus O’Regan said in a statement

The company release had a number of other plaudits, including from representatives of Johns Hopkins University and GE Healthcare (in relation to radiology/ biomedical imaging) and the Royal Canadian Navy (in relation to cognitive dominance, or the facilitation of quick, accurate decision-making under stressful conditions.)

In the past six months, the company has also received widespread official recognition for its work:

• Named to the C100’s 48 Hours in the Valley 2020 cohort, a program introducing Canada’s most promising startups to investors and industry executives in California’s Silicon Valle

• Selected by the U.S. Air Force to attend AFWERX Fusion, where the company pitched their display solutions for the Base of the Future

• Selected by Global Affairs Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service for the 2020 Canadian Technology Accelerator in Silicon Valley , culminating with the company’s first appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt.

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