The sci-fi dream of fully immersive, natural 3D experiences is one step closer to reality following the release of Avalon Holographics’ first generation prototype display. The 29 inch development system represents a significant milestone for the Canadian tech start-up and is being met with vocal support from customers, investors, industry analysts, and the Government of Canada.
“Despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented, it’s an exciting time for our company,” says President and Co-founder, Wally Haas. “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 $150B global display industry, and our prototype launch signals that we’re well on the way.”
In the past six months, the company was named to the C100’s 48 Hours in the Valley 2020 cohort, a prestigious program introducing Canada’s most promising startups to investors and industry executives in Silicon Valley; selected by the U.S. Air Force to attend AFWERX Fusion where the company pitched their display solutions for the Base of the Future; and 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.
Avalon Holographics’ prototype was designed in collaboration with partners in defense, medical imaging, and industrial design, where the company remains engaged in active projects. While these represent early target markets, there are wide-scale future applications for the technology and the company’s prototype use cases will inform future product offerings.
“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.”
Avalon has participated in three Canadian federal government Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) projects, one of which has moved to a second stage. Since 2017, the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), 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 healthcare to defense, and so many industries in between, Avalon Holographics is the way, while creating jobs here at home,” said the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
Colin Holmes, Senior Director of Additive and Mixed Reality, GE Healthcare: “After seeing Avalon’s prototype, I was eager to share their vision with the radiology community and invited them to our advanced technology showcase at the Radiological Society of North America conference. Beyond the ability to look “around” the complex anatomical models generated by GE Healthcare’s Advantage Workstation, there was enough space for several people to experience the 3D visualization simultaneously. The fact that their hardware and software work with standard geometry files allows the technology to easily pair with GE’s AW 3D Suite, promising ease of access to holographic experiences as part of the existing medical imaging workflow.”
Dr. Arvind Pathak, Associate Professor of Radiology and Oncology, Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: “In the Pathak Functional Imaging and Visualization Lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, we develop new imaging methods, computational models, and visualization tools to ‘make visible’ critical aspects of cancer, stroke and neurobiology. Avalon’s technology has great potential to support this vital research, by enabling collaboration and providing an exciting new visualization platform for 3D biomedical imaging and image-derived data.“
Commander Meiz Majdoub, Technology Manager, DGMEPM, Royal Canadian Navy: “Avalon Holographics’ R&D efforts squarely address our technical branch’s desire to support the Digital Navy Initiative; specifically in the domains of 3D Visualization and Immersive Experiences in the pursuit of Cognitive Dominance. By reducing cognitive load and enabling collaborative decision-making, 3D light field displays can create efficiencies and provide crucial advantages in critical scenarios. This technology may in the future also address various warfare domains and use cases yet to be determined.”
Michelle Simms, President and CEO, Genesis Centre: “I’ve known Wally and his team since their first successful venture, Avalon Micro and have had a front row seat as Avalon Holographics set out to pursue another groundbreaking, category-defining product. Witnessing their light field display firsthand proves that the hard work has been worth it. Avalon is ready to disrupt the display industry and I am excited to see how their technology will change the way we live, work, and play.”
Mark Dobbin, President, Killick Capital: “It’s clear upon viewing Avalon’s prototype display that the company has accomplished an incredible feat of engineering. The progress they continue to make seems remarkable to me. It’s not hard to see how their innovation will open the door to a wide variety of real world applications – from medical imaging, to aerospace, and beyond. Seeing realistic 3D images, you can immediately appreciate the opportunity that their light field displays present both and in the future. I have no doubt that Avalon will be a key player in the evolution of the display industry.“
Sam Bromley, CEO, Whitecap Scientific: “There’s something magical about the intuition you get from seeing things in real 3D. Avalon’s holographic display taps into something primal in your brain that helps you bypass the mental clutter of merely “interpreting” what you see and instead lets you jump straight to understanding it.”
Edwin Chaulk, Virtual Sea Technologies, Naval Combat Systems, Royal Canadian Navy: “You can tell when a company knows it has succeeded in developing something that is ground-breaking, and in this case, world-class ground-breaking. My professional opinion is that Avalon Holographics is out front in this field at this point… This technology will not only place Canada in a commanding position in establishing Cognitive Dominance for our Naval forces, but will combine that with commercial success that in itself, is advantageous for the country.”