Par Equity back Google Earth inventor’s VR glasses

A Scottish investment firm have backed a Silicon Valley start-up aiming to transform the wearable technology market with the latest virtual reality (VR) glasses.

Michael Jones, former chief technology advocate at Google and now Ceo of Wearality with the Wearality Sky VR glasses. Picture: Jane Barlow

Par Equity - who specialise in funding start-ups with a high potential for growth – announced last week they will support Wearality with an undisclosed sum.

With the inventor of Google Earth on-board - a product that counts users in the billions – and several patents protecting their product it is quickly apparent what made Wearality such an attractive investment for the Edinburgh fund.

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The company’s forthcoming Wearality Sky device represents what it is calling ‘the next-generation of VR wearables’.

Sam Shedden tries a pair of the 360-degree Wearality glasses. Picture: Jane Barlow

Utilising lenses from defence giant Lockheed Martin and their advanced F-35 fighter jet helmets, California-based Wearality, have spent the last five years creating a product that they hope will revolutionise consumer entertainment.

Forming a separate company as a spinout, Wearality exclusively licensed the intellectual property from Lockheed Martin, and are now translating this cutting edge, patent protected, technology into consumer and commercial VR optics for use in headmounts that are the lightest, most portable and cost effective devices available.

As consumers continue to demand more functionality from their smartphones, Wearality are endeavouring to give users a full cinematic experience with their 3D glasses for smartphones that offer 150 degree field of vision – trumping even an IMAX movie.

“This is a lot more than just a movie screen for everyone though”, says Wearality CEO Michael Jones, “It makes you feel like superman.”

Michael Jones gave a talk at a Par Equity event in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow

Charged with advancing the technology used to organise the world’s information during his seven years at Google as Chief Technology Advocate – where he invented Google Earth - Mr Jones, 55, knows a thing a two or about building and developing user-friendly products.

Hailing from San Diego, USA, Mr Jones has been a computer programmer from a young age, an entrepreneur, technologist, and popular public speaker.

He said: “My whole life has been ideas, inventing things.”

Passionate about products, Mr Jones’ belief in the Wearality Sky glasses was so strong that he gave up his lucrative position at Google to pitch in with the start-up.

Explaining his reasons for leaving one of the world’s biggest companies, Mr Jones told the Scotsman:

“The conviction that David Smith and other Wearality founders had invented the key technology for what will be multi-billion user transition to immersive visualisation and the confidence built by examining their portfolio of 30+ patent families, and the acceptance that it was not a success that we could do within Google for various internal reasons.

“This was certainly bolstered by my surprise that Wearality had earned an advisory board with two Turing-award winners, the father of modern Virtual Reality, and the head of the MIT media lab.

“This was the right bet in the right race.”

The charismatic CEO has grand plans for Wearality Sky and envisions that it’s application could be spread beyond entertainment to medical therapy, police facilitation, factory operations and much more.

Mr Jones said:

“We want to enhance the senses of a billion users worldwide, imbuing people with super-human vision, augmented hearing and a new reality—the augmented conversation—that holds the promise to increase people’s ability to talk, share, learn, and develop empathy for others.”

Currently operating from two offices in America, Mr Jones said that some of Wearality’s operations could be conducted in Scotland in the future:

“We have been investigating this with numerous meetings in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“Presently we’re optimistic about this outcome.”