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Swave Photonics Sees Holograms Getting Real

Swave Photonics Sees Holograms Getting Real

Can virtual reality become indistinguishable from actual reality? Swave Photonics, a spinoff of Imec and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, has designed holographic chips on a proprietary diffractive optics technology to “bring the metaverse to life.” The Leuven, Belgium–based startup has raised €7 million in seed funding to accelerate the development of its multi-patented Holographic eXtended Reality (HXR) technology.

“Our vision is to empower people to visualize the impossible, collaborate, and accomplish more,” Théodore Marescaux, CEO and founder of Swave Photonics, told EE Times Europe. “With our HXR technology, we want to make that extended reality practically indistinguishable from the real world.”

What does it mean to project images that are indistinguishable from reality? “It means a very wide field of view, colors, high dynamic range, the ability to move your head around an object and see it from different angles, and the ability to focus,” he said.

It is natural to focus your gaze on one point and then another, but today’s 3D displays, VR headsets, glasses, and goggles have only one fixed focus. For instance, said Marescaux, “You can’t read a book and decide to focus your eyes far away and look at the leaves on a tree.” While your eyes naturally focus on the faraway object, with a 3D display, you are forcing your eyes to converge. The nausea or headache that follows is due to the vergence-accommodation conflict.

“The solution is to reconstruct the light wave that comes into your eyes, and the only way to do it is with true [versus the 19th century stage illusion, ‘Pepper’s Ghost’] holography,” said Marescaux.

View the full article on EE Times Europe.