Welcome to our blog series, “Meet a CoMotion Labs Member.” These posts offer a peek into the groundbreaking work CoMotion Labs startups do and why they do it here. Stay tuned for profiles about startups innovating in tech, life sciences, and hardware who work in one of our two physical locations on the UW campus — Fluke Hall and Startup Hall.
Where: CoMotion Labs (Hardware Incubator @ Fluke Hall)
Joined: September 2020
- Trevor Squire, Founder
What is your startup all about?
Our company is creating a soft contact lens based augmented reality platform powered by a biocompatible, biodegradable battery on lens.
What problem do you solve?
There are a meaningful number of research organizations and companies that have been working to create “smart” contact lenses – all of these groups have yet to identify a method for incorporating power storage directly in the lens. As a result, these groups rely on coupling to supply the devices with power, which is not only incredibly inefficient, but also creates a significant engineering challenge. Despite the power challenge, many of the on-eye wearable technology companies are developing commercially meaningful products. Our company is working to solve the power problem with the goal of enabling a world of new wearable devices. We hold IP which allows us to incorporate biologically safe power storage directly into a contact lens. Our first application is to create a soft-contact lens AR platform, largely guided by our team’s experience, using this battery technology to power a display contained within a contact lens itself. In addition to our long-term vision around the contact lens, our battery technology has broad application for use in novel sensing systems, wearable devices and medical devices. Our goal is to create a product that represents the next evolution in generalized computing platforms and fundamentally transform how humans interact with each other and the surrounding environment.
What’s the latest?
Our team was recently accepted to Creative Destruction Labs and Silicon Catalyst, two accelerator programs. We’re also making great progress towards creating our first prototype now that we have access to the CoMotion Lab spaces.
We’re incredibly early stage, so take this advice with a grain of salt. Developing innovative hardware is incredibly challenging. From inception we faced a “catch-22” situation – we needed money to develop a prototype, but we needed a prototype to raise money. Unfortunately, the investor ecosystem, almost by nature, doesn’t seem well designed to support very early stage hardware startups and the associated technology risk. If we could start over, we would focus on advancing our technology in an effort to drive down the technology risk as much as possible, before leaving our comfortable jobs.
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About CoMotion Labs: CoMotion Labs, a self-sustaining membership-supported program of UW CoMotion, provides a multi-industry incubation environment for early-stage startups with a focus on UW spinoffs. From critical infrastructure (desks, dry benches, wet lab space, and prototyping capabilities) to just-in-time learning, mentoring, and networking, CoMotion Labs nurtures company growth and enables success. Our labs are currently home to over 100 startups and operate in two locations on the UW Seattle campus.