Luminate names ten winners in optics, photonics, and imaging accelerator program

Nov. 9, 2017
At the Luminate Lightning Round, held November 8, in Rochester, 10 companies were awarded $100K each. 

At the Luminate Lightning Round, held November 8, in Rochester, NY, 26 optics, photonics, and imaging startups competed to win a spot in the accelerator, and 10 companies were awarded admission into the 6-month program. The program starts in January, with an initial $100K investment and a chance to compete for $2 million more in investments that will be announced at the demo day in June 2018. The program is funded by New York Empire State Development.

Of the winning companies, Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director of Luminate, said she hopes to see lasting local bonds and growth in the Rochester region. “I hope they grow here, I hope they learn about our infrastructure, I hope they use our manufacturing supply chain, and I hope they choose to stay." Winning concepts are dominated by biophotonics, advanced materials, and displays.

Here are the winning startups that will be in residence in Rochester:

Arovia (Houston, TX) has created the Spontaneous Pop-Up Display (SPUD), the first collapsible display. SPUD allows users to quickly “pop-up” a 24-inch screen (though other screen sizes and many other variations planned) that connects to any of your mobile devices, and then fold it to the size of a book for immediate portability. Our vision is to create a TV-sized tablet that fits in your pocket. SPUD can be conceptualized as a portable projector connected to an umbrella.

Bounce Imaging (Buffalo, NY) makes 360/VR throwable tactical cameras for first-responders. The enabling technology for that is highly-efficient, noise-resistant, stabilized panoramic video processing. Instead of relying on traditional SIFT/SURF feature-matching methods, which are computationally expensive and sensitive to image quality problems, we use a training algorithm at manufacture that allows for a pixel-level panoramic reconstruction of a scene in 360/VR that is 200X faster than other approaches.

Double Helix Optics (Boulder, CO) - As 3D information is increasingly incorporated into real-world applications, a major challenge has been integrating depth information with increased resolution. Double Helix’s novel Light Engineering technology renders overcomes these limitations, providing improvement in depth resolution where current technologies fail, particularly in near field imaging. Specifically, our sensors dominate the competition for high precision ranging at distances under 30 cm and for objects as small as 20 nanometers.

Intelon Optics (Boston, MA) is a medical device company focusing on the development and commercialization of the Brillouin Optical Scanner System (BOSS), a technology that enables next-generation point-by-point biomechanical imaging of eye structures, extending from the cornea to the posterior part of the globe.

LighTopTech’s (Rochester, NY) new standard in rapid nondestructive high-resolution imaging uses a proprietary biomimetic microscope design with liquid lens technology. This lens dynamically refocuses at different depths inside the sample to nondestructively obtain high-resolution volumetric images of materials.

Lumotune (Kitchener, ON, Canada) makes Digital Glass, see-through digital displays with glasslike transparency. Digital Glass can show digital content on windows without obstructing views or daylight. It can also turn fully-opaque or -transparent. Content on the displays appear like ordinary opaque-white frosting on glass, making it reflective and easy to read in direct sunlight.

Molecular Glasses (Rochester, NY) has developed an entirely new class of organic semiconductors for Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) applications. Our unique materials will reduce power consumption in mobile applications, provide higher display resolution, and reduce cost by material simplification and by enabling lower cost manufacturing processes.

Positive Science (New York, NY) uses a combination of hardware and software to enable the easy capture and analysis of eye tracking information in any environment.

Tarsier Optics (Baltimore, MD) uses a novel imaging processing technique to provide high resolution long range images free of the distortion caused by heat haze turbulence.

Think Biosolution (Dublin, Ireland) uses their novel camera based sensors, embedded in partner brand’s athletic attire, to highly accurately measure the users’ heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation, and heart rate variability with medical grade accuracy and combines this data with information about the users’ speed to report fitness predictors such as vVO2max, heart rate-running speed index, etc. These predictors are then used for recommending personalized coaching routines designed by fitness coaches towards achieving endurance goals.

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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