Augmented reality (AR) can take many forms, from head-mounted displays (HMDs) to mobile devices. San Francisco-based AR hardware company Lightform has announced a $5 million funding round for its projected AR device, which lets artists and designers map digital video content onto 3D objects and spaces.
Lightform creates a form of AR that uses projectors to map digital content onto real-life, 3D spaces (also known as projection mapping), eliminating the need for headsets or phones. This allows viewers to have unobstructed, shared AR experiences. The company’s solution is a small Wi-Fi-enabled computer that mounts on any video projector, turning the projector into an AR display. After using a built-in camera to scan the environment, designers then use the accompanying desktop software, Lightform Creator, to create AR effects for their environments.
“When it comes to integrating digital content with a physical space, your options haven’t fundamentally changed much since the advent flat panel LCD screens,” says Phil Reyneri, Lightform’s Director of Marketing in a statement. “Augmented reality will completely change that, and projected AR is an immediately accessible way designers can blur the line between the real and virtual worlds.”
The funding round was led by Lux Capital, with other participants including Dolby Family Ventures, CrunchFund, Comet Labs, Presence Capital, and Anorak Ventures. Lightform is using the capital to fund the manufacturing of the AR device.
“Lux is excited to support Lightform in its mission to democratize access to this technology with a hardware/software solution that makes projected augmented reality affordable, accessible, and really easy to use,” says Bilal Zuberi, partner at Lux Capital.
Lightform has already begun manufacturing the first production units and is currently alpha testing with select partners, ready for a wider roll out of orders next year. The device will cost under $1000 USD, and will have an optional professional software subscription.
“There’s been a lot of undelivered hype in the AR/VR space, so we want to ensure we can ship a product to our customers and deliver on our promises.” says Brett Jones, Lightform’s CEO. “Given the skepticism around AR vaporware, we want to make it clear that Lightform is real and being used for real applications. Funding the development with this new capital allows us to finalize our product before we start selling it, not the other way around.”
For further updates on Lightform, keep reading VRFocus.