Move over, AR. It’s time for MR. Mixed Reality blurs the lines between the real and virtual worlds to present a composite that is mind-blowing. Making this happen is a company operating out of Bengaluru and California.
While AR (Augmented Reality) is the direct or indirect view of the real environment, the elements of which are augmented, MR (Mixed Reality) goes a step further. It is the hybrid reality where the real world and virtual world interact and respond to each other. Clearly, this technology is set to drive the future of the world and GridRaster, a provider of underlying compute and network stack that powers MR experiences has been riding this wave.
Formed in 2015, it is a brainchild of the IIT Kharagpur trio of Rishi Ranjan, Venkat Ramana Dass, and Dijam Panigrahi who bring a combined experience of 40 plus years, with 11 international patents to their credit. The company helps enterprises in aerospace, automotive, industrial design and retail industry in reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving productivity by effective use of VR/MR/AR.
The company’s technology enables a 360-degree realistic product visualization along with real-time collaboration allowing remote handling, hyper-scale immersive MR simulation, and real-time remote augmentation enabling effective showcase of product design for productivity as well as marketing purposes.
GridRaster’s expertise is in improving performance 10 times over standalone mobile platforms while keeping the quality intact – a major achievement as VR/AR applications require a substantial amount of processing power to produce high-fidelity graphics. Such a feat can be accomplished by edge computing, a method of cloud computing optimization. AR/VR applications require high-end graphics and digital overlays for creating the artificial environment. Smartphones and other mobile devices with limited battery life and processing power, limit user experience. Edge computing offers a seamless solution by allowing distributed computation in the cloud.
Gridraster’s technology is expected to turn mobile handsets into high-end and affordable MR devices.
This is how it works: The rendering of real-time graphics is offloaded from limited power mobile devices to the cloud, distributing and managing load across servers and that optimizes network bandwidth, leading to reduced latency. The offloading of processing to remote servers and cloud in order to support the collaboration of highly complex 3D models significantly reduce the need of power requirements of mobile devices and further enhances AR/VR experiences. This intelligent collaborative computing between mobile device and edge-cloud can lead to ultra-low latency and higher resolution visuals, enabling compelling immersive experiences.
Working with names such as Steel Wood Studios and Osterhout Design Group, the company’s technology is expected to turn mobile handsets into high-end virtual reality head-mounted displays (VR HMDs) at an affordable price level, thereby allowing the VR/AR experiences of enterprises and individuals to scale heights.
“We couldn’t find the necessary talent anywhere else, so we chose Bengaluru. The team here is equally involved in all the development we have done and are doing. Going forward, the Bengaluru team will focus on Europe, Japan & Asia Pacific and the US team will focus on North America.”- Rishi Ranjan, CEO, GridRaster
The company recently raised about US$2 million in seed funding from Bengaluru-based Exfinity Venture Partners LLP, US-based investors Lumia Capital, Pipeline Capital, NexStar Partners, Unshackled Ventures and the Explorer Group, besides some strategic angel investors. “We have proven our core technology by working with great partners. Now, with new capital, we will work toward strengthening our development team and maturing the product for specific enterprise and customer use cases as we continue to establish GridRaster as a standard and platform of choice for cloud-powered high-end VR/AR,” said Rishi Ranjan, CEO. Earlier, the startup had raised two rounds of funding – US$1.5 million seed capital in December 2016 and a US$150,000 worth of angel funding in July 2015.
Going forward the company proposes to offer its services on SaaS platform to enable more customers to scale up. “At some point, we will enter the media industry also,” says Ranjan.
With the Indian AR and VR market raised about US$2 million in seed funding to register a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 55 percent until 2021, GridRaster could look forward to a large slice of the pie.