Flat-lens technology creates excitement in biz community
Improvements in the way people view Mars and the way we take photos with smartphones are coming, with help in part from companies with Grand Junction connections.
Vancouver, Canada-based NexOptic (TSX-V:NXO) last week unveiled its flat-lens technology, which the company says will revolutionize lenses, from eyeglasses to telescopes and perhaps most ubiquitously, smartphone cameras.
In doing so, it could enable humans to visit Mars virtually before setting foot on the red planet.
“Maybe in two or three years, we can actually visit Mars through virtual reality,” said Stephen Petranek, author of “How We’ll Live on Mars,” and a NexOptic board member who maintains that humans will actually visit Mars within 10 years.
Petranek’s book served as the basis for a National Geographic docudrama about life on the fourth planet from the sun.
NexOptic lenses will make that first step easier because the rectangular shape of the company’s lens makes better use of light and eliminates distortion associated with round lenses.
“This is the most disruptive game-changer I have ever seen,” Petranek said in an interview with The Daily Sentinel.
Using flat-lens technology to improve progressive lenses for the two-thirds of American adults who wear glasses would have significant benefits, Petranek said.
Progressive lens-wearers “fall more frequently and run into people and objects more frequently” because their brains are unable to compensate quickly for the distortions associated with curved lenses, Petranek said. Flat lenses could eliminate much of that confusion, he said.
Flat lenses also can be used in geospatial mapping, which is the stock in trade for Grand Junction-based Pro- Star Geocorp, which has been working with NexOptic on how to integrate their technologies.
Combining those technologies with those of another Grand Junction company, Synapticswitch, can fashion a virtual-reality visit to Mars, said Page Tucker, chief executive officer of ProStar Geocorp, an adviser to NexOptic and Colorado’s 2016 technology entrepreneur of the year.
NexOptic is considering establishing a U.S. office in Grand Junction, CEO Paul McKenzie said.
ProStar Geocorp, NexOptic and Synapticswitch are key cogs of the tech hub that Tucker is hoping to establish in Grand Junction with the help of local investors.
NexOptic now has a prototype and is being courted, McKenzie said.
“We have had a lot of interest from corporations and groups,” he said.
“The whole idea is to make any technology better, thinner, lighter,” Tucker said. “That’s what everybody wants in their mobile devices.”