CHEYENNE — Three Wyoming-based companies are taking on the Facebook metaverse with the development of their own innovative smart glasses.
The strategic partnership between Teal, VMAccel and GreenArrays Inc. was made in an effort to keep product creation based in Wyoming, and will compete with technology companies from across the U.S. and internationally.
From the systems programming to the compiler, each step will come together at IMPACT 307, located in the Wyoming Technology Business Center in Laramie.
The team considers this a historic effort in product development, as no other company has complete in-house control, as far as they know.
“Not Apple, Facebook or, frankly, even NASA have this level of integration in their development organizations,” said Teal CEO Mark Poderis. “We are delighted and, indeed, proud of the opportunity to collaborate with these phenomenal engineers on the future of wearable computing and the metaverse.”
Teal, a company focused on consumer electronics, was chosen this past year to take part in the Microsoft-sponsored gener8tor’s gBETA startup accelerator program. The seven-week course teaches founders the skills necessary to create a successful business, as well as connects them with investors.
Once Poderis got his feet on the ground in Laramie, he started to look for ways to build smart glasses that could livestream video and allow for the individual wearing them to talk to others while recording. In the age of influencers and social media, he quickly found a market.
Content creators with an aggregate audience size of over 9 million were enthusiastic, and there is a long list of those waiting to get their first glasses after he reached out.
This was the dream he had when he first envisioned the product. He was traveling across the world after quitting his job, and he realized he couldn’t share memories from his perspective and in real time.
“That’s where the idea for Teal first kind of sprouted,” he said. “What if we could actually livestream our real lives to the internet? Or, like, stream our memories in real time?”
Companies such as Facebook have taken their own shot at creating smart glasses, but Poderis said they can’t provide the extensive services he has pitched. Competing products don’t have interactive audio, can’t be livestreamed and have batteries that last less than 30 minutes.
There also have been discussions regarding adding in virtual reality aspects, but the tech companies haven’t managed to perfect the basics yet. Poderis attributes this to the inefficiency in the semiconductors, or computer chips, these companies purchase from manufacturers abroad.
But he said he found the solution to this issue in his own backyard.
Greg Bailey is the president of GreenArrays Inc., and he is the Cheyenne-based manufacturer of the computer chips going into the smart glasses. He said he has been programming since 1964, and prides himself on the ability to design tools and hardware from scratch.
“Our chips are designed entirely by us,” he said. “The AIP never leaves the U.S., and never will.”
Not only will the team not have to worry about supply chain issues abroad, Bailey said he is confident he can outdo competitors in functionality. With small size, strong computing power and low energy consumption, he said the chips should be able to provide up to three hours of battery life, livestreaming capabilities and more.
The tech will also be supported by the efforts of VMAccel President and CTO Darrick Horton, who provides the partners with access to a local datacenter. He said at the heart of the operation, the company runs one of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.
“The workload that these guys have is well-optimized for acceleration with our infrastructure,” he said. “And that’s the key. The types of actions that need to be completed are exactly what types of things that we’re really good at. So, there’s a lot of synergy.”
But even as all three team members express high hopes for their partnership, they said this is still just the beginning.
The companies are seeking investors and looking to raise more than $500,000 to begin production of the first prototype within the next few months. They said they have all of the essential parts of the glasses ready to come together; it’s just a matter of proving the technology is as capable as they believe it will be.
Once the investment money is raised and the demos are ready to develop and manufacture in Wyoming, Poderis said they are planning on producing only 1,700 units a week. The equipment will be purchased and brought to IMPACT 307.
Competitors are currently selling their smart glasses for around $200, but the Wyoming partners want the starting rate to be $650 for their product. They compared them to expensive cameras and other gear that social media influencers tend to buy, and they said this would be a fair price for the capabilities it has.
“It’s probably 20 times more efficient than what Facebook just released,” he said.
There are also conceptions of augmenting the human brain, and reading lies with the glasses, but those are in the future. The companies first want to get their first commodity on the market.
“Our goal is to build fun, everyday smart glasses that give you superpowers,” said Poderis.