OQmented Opens Optics R&D Site to Harness Metaverse

Article By : Anne-Françoise Pelé

OQmented, a developer of MEMS mirror-based laser scanning solutions, aims to double its size by the end of the year.

OQmented, Itzehoe, Germany-based developer of MEMS mirror-based laser scanning solutions for applications such as consumer AR glasses, 3D cameras and machine vision, announced it has opened an optics R&D site in Jena, Germany.

Oqmented Bubble
The curved glass lid atop OQmented’s MEMS mirror device inspired the technology’s name: Bubble MEMS(Image source: OQmented)

Founded in 2008 as a spinoff from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) in Germany, OQmented claims its Bubble MEMS technology provides a steerable chip that achieves best performance in terms of field of view, device size, durability, energy consumption, sensing, and resolution.

While OQmented’s site in Itzehoe (and Kiel) will focus on the 3D sensing, electronics and MEMS design of its light engines, the new site in Jena will focus on the optical interfaces, OQmented’s public relations manager, Judith Woehl, told EE Times Europe.

For over a century, optics and photonics have defined Jena as a city of light. It is home to multinational corporations as well as startups, two universities and twelve research institutes and, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, Jena’s innovative strength is demonstrated by the approximately 250 patents filed each year.

OQmented said it is already intensively cooperating with a local engineering company for optical systems. It is a member of the OptoNet photonics network and plans to play an active role in meetups. It is also partnering with an optics design house and potential manufacturing partner.

When asked about the complementarity skills that OQmented Jena wants to leverage for the development of AR smart glasses and other Metaverse solutions, Woehl mentioned optical design, design and layout of optical systems, point of contact to potential suppliers, and networking (universities and research).

Woehl added, “We believe that we also add to Jena’s skill set by offering augmented reality as an application for their optical know-how. The combination with our micro-production expertise allows to innovate in conventional, traditional optics for mass production.”

OQmented said it plans to double its size by the end of the year. Today, the German startup has 50 full-time employees as well as interns and student employees. The startup is mainly looking for talents with a background in electrical engineering, physics (optics), mechatronics or computer engineering, particularly with skills in MEMS design, manufacturing, characterization and testing, ASIC development and testing, FPGA development and testing, conception and layout of optomechanical/optoelectronic systems, optical measurement, embedded systems, machine learning and data science – a rather large variety that is needed to build the complete light engine (check OQmented’s open positions here).

This announcement follows two successive rounds of financing.

In March 2021, OQmented closed a multi-million seed funding round. When asked about the amount of this fund, Ulrich Hofmann, co-founder, co-CEO and CTO of OQmented, told EE Times Europe, “It was composed of some sequential steps, but all in all, it was $6 million.” On the use of the funds, Thomas von Wantoch, co-founder, co-CEO and CFO of OQmented, said the priority was to grow and scale the company. “As we get nearer to products, we have to get more people involved in the industrialization, testing, and qualification of devices,” said von Wantoch. “We plan, especially in the 3D sensing part, to not only provide the MEMS but also to provide the full 3D camera module. That means we need additional staff in different technical areas.”

In November, OQmented raised another $9.3 million in a second seed funding round. At the time, OQmented said it expected to expand its location in the city of Itzehoe, in the north of Germany, to accelerate its R&D activities, to foster its existing partnerships, and to develop cooperation with new partners.

Since its inception in 2018, OQmented has raised nearly $20 million.

This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.

Anne-Françoise Pelé is editor-in-chief of eetimes.eu and EE Times Europe.


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