Man looking into a 3D holographic display.

Voxon VX1 - technology that presents the world's most advanced 3D volumetric display (a 3D holographic display that allows you to view 3D images and animations right in front of your eyes).

Company Profile

Company: Voxon Photonics

Sector: Information, Media and Telecommunications

Location: Adelaide

Profile: Voxon Photonics invented the Voxon VX1 — a holographic display for 3D images and animations. The Voxon VX1 is the world's most advanced 3D volumetric display. Potential applications are already being discovered in gaming, education, engineering, medical imaging, advertising, communication and decision support.

Why R&D is needed

The inspiration for the revolutionary Voxon VX1 was simple — inventors Will Tamblyn and Gavin Smith wanted to replicate the 3D holograms in the original Star Wars movie.

After years of prototyping and a pile of junked experiments came a revolution in display technology — the Voxon VX1. This holographic display is a true world first, showing 3D holograms without requiring the viewer to wear special glasses.

CEO Will Tamblyn says the technology would not have been possible without external support from funders and the R&DTI.

Voxon participated in entrepreneurial programs in South Australia as their business developed. The company is now working with the New Venture Institute (NVI) at Flinders University, supported by the UniSA Venture Catalyst Program.

Voxon has also won support from grant programs including the AMP Tomorrow Fund and attended the South by Southwest (SxSW) conference in the US.

“However, it was the R&DTI program that really put us on the runway… it allowed us to stomp on the accelerator!” Mr Tamblyn said.

Voxon used funds from the R&DTI to:

  • purchase the expensive rotating developing hardware they needed for the Voxon VX1
  • pay for 2 new staff hires
  • cover the costs of testing the technology
  • pay for patents

“We had the crazy idea of creating a hologram straight out of science fiction. We worked evenings and weekends for about 8 years… but about 2 years ago Gavin and I both decided to quit our day jobs and go full time,” Mr Tamblyn said.

Developing the prototype into an actual commercial, viable product took about 2 years.

Once they had a prototype in hand, they quickly managed to attract investment and in 2016 they received $1 million in capital from external funders. In August, 2017 the company made their first product commercially available and are today selling their VX1 domestically and internationally.

How the Research and Development Tax Incentive helps

Mr Tamblyn says the potential for the Voxon VX1 is virtually limitless.

“From engineering, to architecture, to medical imaging, to doctor-patient communication, museums, big data visualisation, bio-chemistry and even gaming… we're aiming for every living room and almost every professional service,” he said.

Voxon is also building the next generation of volumetric experts in Australia.

If it weren’t for the R&DTI program, Mr Tamblyn says he would have moved his company overseas. This would be a real loss for the South Australian business sector, as well as young technologists looking to grow their skills in Australia.

“Ultimately R&DTI has given us new skills and capabilities,” he said. ‘We started off not knowing much at all and now we are world experts in this form of technology — everything from computer-aided design (CAD) and electronics, digital fabrication, 3D printing, laser cutting, and computer numerical control (CNC) machining.’

“My business's clients and supply chain all benefit from the R&DTI program because it encourages us to invest money into product development.

“We've developed a next-generation volumetric projector, but we've got more R&D. Now, much of that will happen here in Australia,” Mr Tamblin said.

"We want to make the display bigger, brighter, faster, better all round. We also want to build a cloud-based back-end platform for international collaboration.”

R&DTI has allowed us to bring our product to market faster and push the limits of our technology. It has given us more money to spend on R&D, so we can focus on continuous improvement and innovation. We've also been able to put on an extra engineer, which would have been impossible otherwise.

William Tamblyn, CEO, Voxon Photonics

R&DTI Impact Facts

  • Helped attract $1 million of investment.
  • Allowed 2 new staff hires.
  • Enabled purchasing of prototyping equipment, electronics and projectors.
  • Enabled collaborations with Harvard University and the Australian Science and Mathematics School.
  • Led to sales in new markets (education and marketing).
  • Sped up development and manufacturing times.
  • Increased local knowledge in CAD and digital fabrication.