In the 21st century, it’s hard to remember a time before screens, let alone imagine a future without them. Enter EyeJets, an Israeli startup harnessing innovative technology towards a world without screens.
After a long and distinguished career in the Israeli Air Force and the defense industry, Edu Strul was a consultant for IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) where he had the opportunity to work with optics expert Dr. Joshua Gur. Following his retirement, Gur shared some of his ideas with Strul and asked if he would be interested in forming a startup together. This led to the 2017 founding of EyeJets, whose name is a combination of the word “eye”, the first initials of the two co-founders’ names (“j” and “e”), and ‘t’ and ‘s’. it is for ‘tracking systems’. Strul serves as CEO, Gur is CTO, and Dr. Isaac Lipshitz, a veteran ophthalmologist who later joined the team, serves as medical director.
How did your company start?
“Initially, EyeJets was presented as a military application that involved a precise address of your student,” Strul explained to CTech in an interview. “So we thought maybe there are applications for our technology outside of the military as well, in the world of smart glasses.”
But smart glasses already exist.
“You’re right. There are a lot of big companies that have tried glasses, but today you don’t really see the product. People don’t walk around wearing this technology. Our technology, however, is completely different.”
“Instead of projecting digital data from your computer or smartphone onto your eyeglass lenses, we project it directly onto the retina of your eye. This is a different concept that we did not invent, it is already known”.
So what makes your technology different?
“Normally, if I project data directly onto your retina, you won’t be able to see it well because your eye is constantly moving. What we developed is an eye-tracking technology that follows your pupil, it moves as your eye moves. That means that with our technology, the image, images or film, whatever is being projected, will always be in the center of your field of vision. This is our main differentiator.”
How do you know it’s unique?
“Three years ago we applied for a patent in the US in this crowded field that includes hundreds, if not thousands, of major companies, but something very unusual happened. We wrote 39 claims and all were approved with no exclusions, as is. That’s how I know our technology is unique.”
“Since the beginning, we have been in contact with the leading eyewear company, who told us that our technology must be made with the best eyewear on the market, and we agree. So, in addition to projection and eye tracking, we want our technology to be integrated into nice looking glasses that you can wear while walking down the street and going about your day. With other products out there, including the best AR glasses, you have to be sitting down to see what is projected on your glasses. With EyeJets, it will be almost like regular glasses that you can wear everywhere and anywhere, even while traveling.”
Do you think your technology will complement screens or replace them entirely?
“We are working to not have screens. There will be no screens, but I’m breaking it down into two phases. The first stage, which I explained earlier, is eye-tracking projection. We are trying to bring this technology to market quickly, which we call “EyeVis1”. This technology will eventually replace your TV screen and your computer screen, but you will still need a smartphone, because your mobile phone has a very good built-in processor and has many applications. We currently have a demo model that works and tests the technology.
“But, the big idea, the next product, the second phase that will take more time, is to completely replace the smartphone. The most complicated part involves if you want to type something. So we also have the patent for a virtual keyboard.” That means if you get an email or WhatsApp message and want to reply to it right away while wearing our glasses, you’ll see the keyboard and type with your fingers in the air. From now on, there will be no smartphones, only glasses.
“We realize that as a small company we cannot beat the giant companies like Google, Facebook-Meta, etc., but we, with our unique technology, look forward to partnering with them. As the old saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, and we look forward to joining them. One of the Big 5 or FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) have already been in intensive talks with us for the past few months and they were very impressed with our technology and we have signed an NDA with each other. , so we hope to have a big announcement about it soon, by the end of this year.”
You’re talking about projecting lasers onto people’s retinas, is that safe?
“Yes, that is exactly what we are doing. When we first set up the company, when it was strictly for the military, that was the first question we asked: ‘Is it safe?’
“First of all, there are established standards, which I am very familiar with, based on a large American study, for projection lasers. Retinal projection has already been used in military and medical applications, and we are significantly below that. of the number of figures of that standard, then yes, it is safe”.
What about medical applications?
“For the world of medicine it is incredible. As I said before, our technology does eye tracking. We are continuously scanning the retina. What do we have on the retina? Blood vessels. The retina is the only place in our body where our blood vessels are exposed, where you can see them. There are many diseases, like diabetes, glaucoma, etc., that are normally tested with blood tests, but it is known that once someone is sick, there is a change in the blood vessels. So instead of waiting for someone to feel sick, our technology acts as an early diagnosis. So when you wear our special glasses for, say, 1 or 2 hours a day, as it accumulates data, it provides an early diagnosis and tells you it’s time to go see your doctor.
“But having said that, we are still a small company and we need to focus, so right now we are not focusing on the medical aspect yet, but hopefully in the future we will.”
“We have received financial support in the form of grants from the Israel Innovation Authority, twice. In addition, in 2021 the company raised funds in a crowdfunding process through the Piplebiz platform and we are in the process of doing it again through that same platform. Now we are also preparing for the biggest AR/VR convention next month in Portugal, where we will present our technology to the world for the first time and meet with international investors and shortly after this conference we intend to announce our funding round series. A. “
Would you say that EyeJets is a pioneer in the field?
“We are absolutely pioneers. First of all, we are very proud to be an Israeli company. Also, although I have a military background, from years of being an engineer in the Israeli Air Force, we are not your typical Israeli start-up of young people fresh out of the IDF’s 8,200 intelligence units. I am 56 years old and I am the youngest of the founding group. My partners are all older than me. We are a small company, but we are very experienced and knowledgeable and we are proud to bring this unique Israeli technology to the world that we believe is going to change the way we see the world. We’ve been preparing for this all our lives.”