First up

The Australian - The Deal - - News - KYLAR LOUSSIKIAN

Ade­laide duo makes a holo­graphic break­through and zines to help the start-up com­mu­nity

IT’S easy to imag­ine a great many things aris­ing from a night shoot­ing the breeze over a cool beer, but a fully work­ing holo­graphic pro­jec­tor on the verge of commercialisation is not one of them. But this was how Will Tam­blyn and his busi­ness part­ner Gavin Smith first came to de­sign the Vox­iebox, a holo­graphic sys­tem that Tam­blyn claims can be used for pur­poses as var­ied as mod­el­ling new space­craft to cre­at­ing ex­cit­ing com­puter games.

And af­ter sev­eral years in de­vel­op­ment, and with the help of Flin­ders Univer­sity’s New Ven­ture In­sti­tute, Tech­stars ac­cel­er­a­tors, and some savvy US busi­ness part­ners, Vox­iebox is ready to make its de­but.

“My mate Gaz and I used to have a reg­u­lar Thurs­day night lab ses­sion that in­volved hang­ing out in a shed and drink­ing beers and com­ing with crazy ideas,” he says. “I sug­gested a ro­bot with a holo­graphic pro­jec­tor as a head and Gaz said that’s im­pos­si­ble, they don’t ex­ist yet, so I said ‘ex­actly let’s build one’.”

Af­ter ex­per­i­men­ta­tion us­ing laser point­ers and card­board, a pro­to­type was born. But Tam­blyn and Smith had not put their mind to commercialisation, yet. It was only when they stum­bled upon a sim­i­lar busi­ness in US that was launch­ing a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign that they re­alised they would miss out.

“We were ab­so­lutely gut­ted be­cause we thought they were go­ing to beat us to mar­ket with a prod­uct we hadn’t thought very much about com­mer­cial­is­ing,” Tam­blyn says.

At the last minute, Vox­iebox was launched into the world of crowd­fund­ing. With just a proof of con­cept, it failed badly.

“Thank­fully it didn’t work,” Tam­blyn ad­mits. “In hind­sight [given] the amount of work it’s taken to get the prod­uct to where it is now, we would have been very hard pressed to de­liver our prom­ise.”

But the failed crowd­fund­ing cam­paign was a bless­ing in dis­guise, with the US team com­pet­ing for fund­ing con­tact­ing Tam­blyn and Smith and of­fer­ing to work to­gether. They would bring the net­work and con­nec­tions; the Aus­tralians would bring the tech­nol­ogy.

Vox­iebox is look­ing for seed fund­ing, sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars worth, although Tam­blyn re­mains vague about the fig­ure. The prod­uct, a pro­jec­tor that can be used to em­u­late in­ter­ac­tions be­tween mul­ti­ple 3D ob­jects, has cir­cum­nav­i­gated the US, with demon­stra­tions for in­ter­ested par­ties in­clud­ing NASA, Elon Musk-led SpaceX and the Face­book-owned Ocu­lus VR.

The Vox­iebox sys­tem Will Tam­lyn co-in­vented is at­tract­ing in­ter­est from US tech heavy­weights

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