1. What is Mezmeriz? Mezmeriz
is a projection display technology company based in Ithaca, NY that has developed a matchbook-sized device capable of projecting high-definition images either by itself, or from the devices within which it has been embedded, such as portable MP3 players, cell phones or even televisions. The technology is made possible by the use of microelectromechanical systems (“MEMS”) and Mezmeriz’s own patented method of weaving microscopic carbon fibers in place of the silicon-based material that is typically used in the creation of these microchips. Doing so allows for small mirrors on the chip to resonate faster than would normally be possible with silicon. With the use of a laser and an array of mirrors, the chip acts like a video projector that can project high-definition video.
The company envisions practical uses for the typical consumer, including the ability to conveniently watch movies from a portable device that projects onto any flat surface. Mezmeriz plans for the device to be able to project an image the size of a typical laptop screen that is viewable indoors for about two hours.
2. How was Mezmeriz created? What relationships and collaborative efforts were involved in bringing the technology to market?
Mezmeriz was founded in 2006 based on research that Shahyaan Desai, the company founder, had conducted while attending graduate school at Cornell University. Mr. Desai developed the use of carbon fibers in MEMS technology over the course of more than three years with his colleagues at Cornell. In 2006, he published the findings of his research in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering in an article that he wrote in collaboration with Michael Thompson, a Cornell associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Anil Netravali, a Cornell professor of Fiber Science. Once the research phase had been completed, in order to bring the technology to market, Mr. Desai partnered with Mr. Bradley Treat, who was the Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Cornell at the time.
In 2008, Mezmeriz was announced as the grand prize winner of the New York Creative Core $200K Emerging Business Competition, where it took home $100K in funding to invest in the business. In 2009, New York State’s Grant for Growth program awarded the company $75,000 to collaborate with Cornell University in developing a machine that would allow for local manufacturing of the company’s technology. Funding has also become available to Mezmeriz via venture capital firms like Cayuga Venture Fund, Advantage Capital Partners, Excell Partners Inc. and others.
3. Would you briefly describe Mezmeriz’s business plan?
Mezmeriz designs and builds microprojector devices that employ its patented carbon fiber MEMS technology. The company hopes to enter the video projection market by embedding the devices into mobile consumer electronics like cell phones, laptops, iPods and video game consoles. Since the core technology is applicable to many settings, the company envisions a future where the technology may be utilized in laser printers, camera zoom lenses, energy harvesting and microscopy.
4. What is the current status of Mezmeriz?
Mezmeriz has successfully completed production of a fully working prototype and is expected to have the device available in the market within a few years. It is now working with select development partners on bringing the technology to market, although no partnership deals have been announced.
5. Who is on the Mezmeriz team?
Board of Directors:
Brad Treat, CEO
Shahyaan Desai, CTO
Rob Ryan, Chairman
Don Greenberg, PhD
Technical Advisory Board:
John Chong, PhD
Anil Netravali, PhD
Michael O. Thompson, PhD
6. How was Mezmeriz named?
The name was created by Mr. Desai in a moment of inspiration. The altered spelling and the use of ‘Z’ was introduced by Mr. Treat.