Meet the Team – David Grey


David is a co-founder and the CTO of WaveOptics. He has been at the forefront of augmented reality (AR) and the optical industry for more than 20 years and is a passionate advocate of the power and potential of augmented reality.

David’s interest in optics began following his physics degree when he went to work at GEC Marconi in Chelmsford. It was there that he began to explore the application of lasers, but it was his realisation that his interest lay in imaging that led him to pursue his Masters in Applied Optics at Imperial College. Encouraged by his supervisor and a holiday placement at Davin Optronics, which became a permanent job, David began his career in optical design, working on machine vision cameras and night vision goggles.

It was his next move to BAE Systems which proved prescient for the foundation of WaveOptics several years later as it was here that David met Sumanta Talukdar, the now CEO of WaveOptics.

It was an exciting time to be involved in the defence industry. The European Fighter Aircraft project was underway, providing technically demanding work for the scientists and engineers involved. David and his team were also pioneering head up display and head mounted display technology and work had also begun to develop waveguides and to understand their potential as a disruptive optical technology.

Managing these projects earned David and his team a company Gold award and gave David the opportunity to see augmented reality in action and to realise its potential outside of the defence industry for enterprise and consumers.

David’s next role was at Carclo Optics, learning more about LED illumination and passive infra-red design. It was during this time that he and Sumanta began to talk seriously about the possibility of starting their own company. They shared a passion for augmented reality and were confident that they could deliver a superior user experience in a wearable form factor and at a price point that consumers and enterprise could absorb.

David recalls, “since the first forays into AR there have been many technological developments which have helped progress consumer augmented reality. The evolution of LEDs and the smartphone are amongst these. There have also been great improvements in the quality of available materials. Glass which is genuinely flat was impossible to find when the company first started out but WaveOptics now work with manufacturers who can produce glass of the required quality and dimensions.”

David’s ambition for the future of WaveOptics is the continued development of technically superior waveguides. He thinks that they can still be more efficient in terms of light usage and battery efficiency and new materials will also help to improve waveguide efficiency. Curved waveguides could also become possible in the future. Ultimately he wants to see WaveOptics’ waveguides designed into a form factor that looks cool and wearable.

“Here at WaveOptics we have come a long way in a short time. Our waveguide technology is arguably the best in the world but it must continue to evolve and improve. There are always new targets to reach, whether it is to grow the field of view or to develop waveguides in new materials. I’m excited for the future both of WaveOptics and of Augmented Reality in general. The best is still very definitely to come.”