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China startup's hologram technology cuts infection risk

Anhui Easpeed Technology's virtual buttons appear in elevators and elsewhere

Easpeed's interactive hologram technology consists of a light source, lenses and interactive modules. (Photo courtesy of Anhui Easpeed Technology)

BEIJING -- Anhui Easpeed Technology, a Chinese startup that develops hologram technology, has raised 58.50 million yuan ($8.63 million) in a series A round, 36Kr has learned.

Key angel round investors include the Anhui Quantum Funding Program, Zhongqi Jinling and Hefei New Economy Industrial Development Investment. Easpeed will spend the funds raised to revamp its core technology, enhance its product lineup, tap new markets and upgrade production lines.

Anhui Easpeed, founded in 2018, engages in research and development of hologram technology and materials. The company's DCT-Plate lenses project an image in the air, while its interactive hologram technology lets people exchange images and data without using other media. The company says it has already received many orders for its noncontact devices for elevators, subways and medical terminals.

Easpeed's hologram technology consists of a light source, lenses and an interactive module. The company's DCT-Plate lenses, which look like glasses, are made from materials with a negative refractive index, an optical property that helps create three-dimensional images.

The company's interactive hologram technology has a number of innovative features. It enables people to manipulate images using gesture recognition, interactive experience and voice recognition. Unlike other virtual imaging technologies, the images exist. It is also battery-friendly and can project images using physical reactions as long as there is a light source. And the angles can be adjusted, giving the technology wide applications.

According to Easpeed Chairman Han Dongcheng, the company's R&D is so cutting edge that it is difficult to forecast the business prospects for each segment.

One application is in noncontact products, which can reduce the risk of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Elevator buttons, for example, are touched by many people every day, increasing the risk of spreading bacterial and viral infections. To address this problem, Easpeed has come up with holographic elevator control panels that the user does not actually touch, meaning germs do not spread. 

Subway passengers can also buy tickets from vending machines by tapping a virtual control panel projected in the air. The company's virtual buttons can be used in elevators, subway ticket vending machines, medical devices, smart automobile products and password input terminals.

The key founding members of Easpeed hail from the University Of Science And Technology Of China in Hefei, Anhui Province. Chairman Han has a master's degree in engineering, while CEO Fan Chao has a master's degree in theoretical physics.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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