What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
The ATTRACT funding has joined the ALL-lens technology developed at a public university with an SME with experience in development in commercial liquid crystal electronics, needed for making an attractive presentation of adaptive lenses.Having working lenses that can be tuned at video rate does not change the science behind the lens, but it makes the science appealing, and enables the consortium to present the lens in a way making it attractive to both mayor lens manufacturers and to potential investors.During the ATTRACT project the partners have been able to identify potential applications for non-imaging adaptive lenses, i.e. LIDAR for wind speed measurements in the context of wind turbines.
What challenges have you faced so far?
The greatest challenge in this project neither has been technical nor scientific, but rather the decision as to how to target a potential market. In the end it has been decided to, in the first hand, aim as high as possible in the context of publishing the results, and then assess the response from any potential market section, or investors.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
The future journey is neither paved, not is the direction a given. The UPM team already has experience in mounting a hardware-based spin-off and appreciate the investment that is required in terms of both money and dedication. Various possibilities are being considered: Selling off or licensing the patent to a third party is one option, spinning-off the technology to AD-Telecom or to a joint upstart company with capital partners is also being discussed. The decision as to where and how to get there will very much depend on the response from the public exposure.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
Given that both partners have commercial experience, and consequently less need for commercial schooling, the greatest advantage of the ATTRACT Programme has been the hassle-free project managing, combined with an emphasis on project exposure.Project exposure is the key issue for turning a good scientific idea into a great commercial success.