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21 December 2006


LBO secures extra $1m and full-color laser projection license 

Light Blue Optics Ltd (LBO) of Cambridge, UK, a developer of miniature full-color laser projection technology founded in 2004, has closed a $1m extension to July’s $2.5m seed-funding round, again led by 3i plc but joined by the UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), the Cambridge Capital Group and business angels. The funds will enable it to accelerate its product development programme.

LBO has also signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Cambridge Enterprise Ltd (the University of Cambridge’s technology commercialization service) concerning a patent for real-time, full-color holographic laser projection method (invented in 2003 by director of business development Edward Buckley and chief technology officer Adrian Cable while PhD students at the university). “We now have a strong, clear IP position,” says CEO Dr Chris Harris.

LBO says that its projection system uses laser light sources and diffractive techniques to deliver high-quality, real-time, full-color video images in focus at all distances, even on curved or angled surfaces. A diode-pumped solid-state laser (DPSS) laser is used for green and semiconductor lasers for red and blue colors. LBO says that, in their diffractive system, the lasers do not need a high modulation frequency, so the requirements upon them are less restrictive than those of competing technologies. Also, the system architecture is tolerant of deviations from ideal laser beam quality, the company claims.

LBO adds that the patented technology combines: compact size; focus-free operation; wide throw angle; robust design with no moving parts; low power consumption; and simple, low-cost manufacture. “The efficiency, robustness and cost advantages of our technology make it ideally suited for deployment in multiple markets; including automotive, digital signage and consumer electronics,” claims Buckley.

Since July, LBO has been building relationships with strategic customers and development partners. “We have been very impressed by the traction LBO has gained with launch customers,” says Cambridge-based 3i partner Laurence Garrett.