Distance emerges from stealth with $2.7M in funding to announce its glasses-free XR technology

In General XR News

June 13, 2024 – Distance Technologies Oy, a developer of glasses-free extended reality (XR) technology designed for the automotive, aerospace, and defense markets has today emerged from stealth. As part of its launch announcement, Distance also stated that it has raised a total of USD $2.7 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed round led by FOV Ventures and Maki.vc, with further investments from Business Finland and David Helgason’s Foobar.vc.

“Distance’s execution speed is already extraordinary and we have 100% confidence in their ability to revolutionize the XR industry with their groundbreaking technology. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, and we’re excited to support their journey to new heights,” said Ilkka Kivimäki, Founding Partner at Maki.vc

What does Distance’s technology do?

Already showing a ‘sneak peek’ of its first commercial product, the Distance prototype transforms virtually any transparent surface into a window for XR experiences. Using a computer-generated 3D light field that seamlessly mixes with the real world, Distance states that its technology offers “flawless per-pixel depth covering the entire field of view for maximum immersion.” What’s more, the company’s solution is completely non-reliant on anything worn on a user’s face or body.

With Distance, users are able to simply look through a window, or any other transparent surface (e.g. in a car or on a plane) and experience mixed reality, thanks to Distance’s per-pixel optical depth capability. The company’s next-generation 3D visual fidelity and performance is all achieved without needing a headset, phone, pin, glasses or other mobile device, and instead only requires a user’s own eyes.

What industries is Distance targeting?

Designed for integration into automotive and advanced aeronautics systems, Distance’s technology is currently under evaluation by several leading automotive OEMs for potential use in both windshields and windows, according to the company. On the defense and aviation side, 

Distance added that interested companies can now explore the adoption of its technology into commercial and military cockpits and vehicles, with the company anticipating that future generations of its design are expected to open additional market opportunities.

Is glasses-free XR a “Holy Grail” moment for the industry?

Distance stated that its headset and glasses-free XR technology, which has long been considered a “Holy Grail” moment for the XR industry, means that any view within a window, windshield or cockpit can now be enhanced with ANY content, data or alphanumeric information. This XR content can include a wide range of situational analyses and information unique and specific to that location or geospatial coordinates – all appearing completely natural and “in situ,” according to the company.

Distance added that its technology is also designed to tie-in to a wide range of AI language models and search engines as a means to produce true “Contextual AI.”

Distance co-founder Urho Konttori (right), who is also the founder of XR hardware company Varjo, and Jussi Makinen (left), who was Varjo’s Chief Brand Officer for seven years.

“There are very few moments in your life where you have the opportunity to ‘bottle lightning.’ I had the privilege of doing it once as co-founder of Varjo with the first human-eye resolution XR headset and now I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to do it again with the Distance platform – and perhaps in an even more transformative way,” said Urho Konttori, CEO and co-founder of Distance Technologies.

“I have every belief that we are creating a nexus point where true mixed reality without headsets or glasses becomes ubiquitous and that visual AI has the potential to reach everyone on this planet.”

Where can you experience Distance?

Distance will be demonstrating its technology in private showings to a select group of analysts, journalists and influencers at Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2024 in Long Beach next week. More details on availability and customers for the Distance glasses-free XR solution will be released later in 2024.

For more information on Distance and its headset-free XR technology, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Distance

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.