3D sensor startup AIRY3D raises $4.8 million in seed financing


Montreal-based AIRY3D has raised  $4.8 million ($3.5 million US) in seed financing in an oversubscribed round co-led by CRCM Ventures and R7 Partners. Other investors include WI Harper Group, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners and several angel investors.

The TandemLaunch graduate is bent on answering one question: if our world has three dimensions, why can’t our pictures?

Founded in 2015, AIRY3D has developed the world’s first passive single sensor solution for 3D computer vision based on off-the-shelf components that are transformed by technology first invented at Cornell University. The AIRY3D computer vision platform has multiple potential applications, including in consumer electronics and AI-enabled machine vision that span next generation 3D smartphone cameras, AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), collision avoidance for automotive and drones, and robotics.

“AIRY3D’s team has developed a breakthrough technology that significantly reduces the size, number of components and computational load required to produce 3D images,” said Toby Zhang, general partner of CRCM Ventures. “With 3D now the new battleground for smartphones, we believe the dramatic savings of AIRY3D’s computer vision platform can usher in a next generation of imaging experiences by helping to make 3D cameras and related content ubiquitous.”

The financing will allow AIRY3D to demonstrate manufacturability with its top-tier camera sensor partner and build the world’s first commercial quality 3D sensors that combine AIRY3D’s patented Transmissive Diffraction Mask (“TDM”) platform with state-of-the-art, yet off-the-shelf CMOS camera sensors. AIRY3D’s single sensor solution requires no new materials or processes and is produced using standard wafer-scale semiconductor equipment.

“AIRY3D’s drop-in solution requires no changes to other hardware and assembly, no custom camera sensors, lenses or image processors. This is a powerful value proposition for both end-device manufacturers and camera sensor suppliers, and explains active engagement by industry leaders. With a strong base of globally issued patents and far-reaching applications, we are excited by the commercial potential of AIRY3D’s technology,” said Ben Buettell, general partner of R7 Partners.

AIRY3D’s solution requires only one camera component and no active lighting system, eliminating the need for multiple components, such as dual cameras or cameras equipped with active lighting systems for depth detection. The company’s solution is only microns thick, produces 3D camera sensors that are easily assembled and does not require massive computation overhead. The passive, single sensor 3D platform enables a full range of depth functions while preserving 2D performance.

“We are thrilled to attract such an impressive group of international venture capital investors, spanning Silicon Valley, Greater China, Germany and Canada. With their support, we can accelerate the introduction of our first solutions into some of the most exciting and fastest growing markets starting with consumer electronics,” said Dr. Dan Button, president & CEO of AIRY3D.

 

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