Editor’s note: This is one in a series of posts about companies LaunchTN has supported through the SBIR/STTR Matching Fund.
Imagine an astronaut trying to diagnose or treat a crew member for a medical problem. The astronaut periodically looks away at a computer screen for information to guide the procedure.
Now imagine that the astronaut doesn’t have to look away and doesn’t have to put tools down and reorient every time they need to reference the screen. A vast improvement.
Nashville-based company Amalgamated Vision has created the technology to allow the astronaut, or for that matter anyone needing assistance during a task, to use eyewear to see both the real world and the needed computer screen all while keeping their hands free and their view of the world unobstructed.
And that’s just one of countless applications the new product can serve.
The company is leading the extended reality industry with its light-weight eyewear by achieving superior image resolution and a wide field of view in an extremely small package for smart glasses and augmented reality applications.
“The beauty of this is it doesn’t block your vision,” founder Adam Davis, MD, said. “It can sit next to your nose and be completely unobtrusive or be positioned above your eyes. It is no more obstructive than a baseball cap.”
Amalgamated Vision does this by using laser diodes to project laser light directly into the eye to paint a picture of the image on the back of the eye (and yes, it’s safe).
Although there are already AR products on the market, these devices do not provide a smooth user experience. The eye wear is bulky, making it difficult to view and cannot be worn for all day use due to size and weight. The digital content clutters the view of the world.
“Even though the devices have gotten lighter and easier to wear, people don’t seem to use them because they don’t like the user experience. It’s suboptimal,” Davis said. “Our technology solves many of the user experience problems that prevent widespread adoption of extended reality devices.”
In 2023, the company won SBIR funding to work with NASA to help with remote medical care, and Launch Tennessee matched a portion of that funding.
The company has recently been awarded SBIR Phase II funding from the Air Force, for visually assisted aircraft maintenance and repair, and is ready to build a prototype, which will take 12 months to create.
“Our optical design and visual paradigm are entirely different from currently available commercial products,” Davis said. “We utilize laser beam scanning and unique patented optical design to create an extremely small display that sits near the eye and does not interfere with normal vision. We hope to enter markets beyond aerospace and national defense, including industrial manufacturing, supply and logistics, healthcare and consumer products.”