Living Optics’ Founders Reveal All at Imaging & Machine Vision Interview


Our Founders were interviewed by Imaging and Machine Vision Chief Editor. They were asked about how did it all start ? , how did they meet ?, what were their major road bumps ?, the launch at SPIE, customers’ feedback so far, and more..

Here are some of the highlights from the interview:

What did you feel you were launching at Photonics West earlier in the year?

RW: I think the messaging was quite easy. What we wanted to do was create something that worked well with everything and was easy [to use]. The whole goal was to release a kit with no hidden costs – it has everything you need to get started.

SC: We had a rule that you should be able to get going with our camera within 15 minutes– you receive the box and, 15 minutes later, you’re processing data and looking at the spectra and trying to figure out if this is good for me or not. I don’t want [customers] to be learning the manual for four hours or phoning up another supplier because there’s a component missing. We include the computer brick from Nvidia, through to the camera and all the software, just to get you going.

What’s the vision for the year ahead?

SC: This year is about assessing who’s buying what. We are listening to customers and being really receptive to the market for the next six months. I think a lot of things in venture capitalism and start-ups come down to your personal drive. I think where we started in the beginning was we don’t want to build a high-value scientific instrument that’s available to a few niches, we want to get this out as widely as possible to the world. I think if we can find some product market fit that does volume, that will win.

What has been the best thing about the past four years?

RW: The best thing is we made something that works; something that solves people’s problems. I never thought I’d be in a position to do that.

What has been the turnaround time been like on results?

RW: We did a demo last Friday, and I remember the last thing he said on the [set-up] call was “I’ll believe it when I see it”. And, within 10 minutes, it was: “Robin, I believe it”. There are two sets of people: the first have never heard of hyperspectral; the second are like me – they had PTSD from hyperspectral! This guy works at one of the biggest agriculture companies and has so much PTSD! He said: “I don’t trust the specs anymore. Your bands are lower than a large scanner, so surely you can’t see it”. Yet, within 10 minutes, he was convinced.

SC: It’s like every new technology – it’s a bit hard to compare the specification sheets because they don’t necessarily translate into solving the application problem. So, seeing is believing and we’re finding that, with most of our engagements, if you can do a quick demo or they can grab hold of the kit and see it, they can believe it. The alternative is: you can spend weeks going: “your spectral bands and your full-width half-maximum. And you ask the question, “What do you need?” and they say we don’t know.

To read the full interview

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