As for industrial AR helmets, another potentially attractive market, Duflot anticipates Eye Lights could beat today’s high tech players on a cost basis.
“We’ll let the big players fail with their costly designed and overly fragile solutions. The problem is, marketing often escalate around a device’s technological performance rather than focus on usability, ruggedness and cost of deployment” the CEO says. For this market to develop into sizable volumes for logistics or maintenance operators, you need lightweight and low cost but rugged solutions. The same holds true for military AR-enabled helmets, notes Duflot. Safety remains the most important aspect, and if the field of view is too narrow or fiddling with AR requires constant adjustments or head turns, then in the most critical situations, the wearer may well throw the helmet away and deal with the situation unprotected, which defeats the purpose of having these expensive helmets around.
Eye Lights grew from 3 in 2016 to 18 staff today, “a team made up of optical PhDs, world-class engineers, software developers and designers who have worked for Peugeot, Intel, Parrot, or for firefighters on products like the Oakley Radar Pace and the Intel Vaunt smart glasses”, as the startup boasted on its kickstarter campaign.
Although Eye Lights may have already been approached by larger groups with acquisitions in mind, Duflot says it would not be the right time as it has yet to mature and further raise its profile.