AMHERST, Mass. – Myrias Optics, built on research developed by the Watkins Group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, announced today that it has secured a $3 million seed investment led by Asia Optical Inc. Myrias, an emerging developer of all-inorganic printed metaoptics, will use the funding to meet growing customer demand and interest in the company’s structure, materials and process technology platform. This investment round also includes participation from UMass Amherst, Tenon Ventures and HOSS Investment Inc.
Myrias Optics enables the next generation of metaoptics for augmented reality/virtual reality, consumer electronics, machine vision, advanced robotics, automotive light detection and ranging, defense and aerospace. The company, founded by UMass faculty member James Watkins, plans to manufacture optics in Western Massachusetts and hire a substantial workforce.
“We are very excited to already have multiple Tier 1 customers engaging in AR/VR and consumer electronics applications where Myrias IP and expertise provide unrivaled cost, performance and lifetime advantages over existing etched or printed polymer-based processes,” said Myrias CEO Patrick Tan. “Going forward, we are particularly excited to work with Asia Optical to develop and deploy a new class of optics that enables products that are compact, lighter and easier to assemble at significantly lower costs.”
“Our investment and partnership with Myrias is aimed at advancing the development of metaoptics for high-performance optical modules and products,” said Asia Optical’s Chairman Robert Lai. “By integrating multiple functions into a single metaoptic layer, we anticipate creating systems with fewer components making it much easier to make. Asia Optical looks forward to developing and extending our optical product offerings across all the industries we serve.”
Development and adoption of the optical technologies developed by the Watkins Group is poised to accelerate substantially in Massachusetts thanks to a $5 million award from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative announced in October 2023. The grant will enable UMass Amherst to establish an open-access Advanced Optics Fabrication and Characterization Facility on its campus, a unique resource available to industry partners such as Myrias and researchers across the state.
About Myrias Optics, Inc.
Founded in 2021 by Professor James Watkins, Myrias Optics has secured exclusive worldwide license to six foundational patents with priority dates dating back to 2012, relating to “structures, materials and additive manufacturing process technology” using nano-particle formulations. Deployed in AR/VR, consumer electronics and defense applications, Myrias’ technology produces superior device performance at unrivaled costs. Myrias’ printed “all-inorganic” metaoptics integrates multifunctional optical performance into a single layer, which can replace multi-element lens assemblies.
Asia Optical (TSE: 3019), founded in 1980, is mainly engaged in the production and sales of optical lenses and optoelectronic products and has diversified capabilities designing and manufacturing optical products. With the core advantage of precision glass molding technology, Asia Optical can develop diversified applications to exert technology innovation for future business opportunities. These applications include specialty optical elements, high-end mobile phone camera lenses, automotive lenses, riflescopes, and laser range finders, as well as smart video conference devices and robot moving platforms for AGV and AMR products.
Founded in 1863, UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system and the leading public research university in New England. UMass Amherst’s research is a major contributor to the innovation economy through leadership in advanced materials and manufacturing, applied life and health sciences, data and computational science, the arts and creative economy, climate science and sustainability, and equity and inclusion. With more than 32,000, students, 1,400 faculty and over 200 distinct academic programs, the university is committed to translating cutting-edge research into real-world impact.
Tenon is a new Venture Capital firm formed by serial entrepreneurs and advisors who are leveraging their proven track records to help craft the next generation of deep tech ideas into successful companies.
HOSS Investment is a Taiwan investment firm focused on companies in advanced manufacturing and new deep tech technologies.