Digital & IT

Published: April 26, 2022 | Updated: April 26, 2022

One to watch as Phantom Tech aims to make a big impact in the world of augmented reality

Daniel Mosaid (left) and Farbod Shakouri, Co-founders, Phantom Technology Limited.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Remember the names: Farbod Shakouri and Daniel Mosaid.

They’re ones to watch in the fast-moving digital and technology sector.

The Bournemouth University graduates are Co-founders of Phantom Technology Limited.

A software start-up determined to make a significant impact in the world of Augmented Reality (AR).

And attracting close attention, and funding, from investors.

Already more than £177,000 has been raised in just a few months.

Phantom Tech’s pre-seed round is looking to close at £300,000 by next month.

Aware of AR but not quite sure what it is?

Put simply it’s a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, providing a composite view.

One in seven of us access AR every day, often without realising, just by using social media.

Farbod, 25, first became obsessed with AR while studying for his BSc degree in games technology at BU.

As an independent developer, he worked with the National Trust, building a location-based AR app for its Avebury Henge heritage site.

The app allowed visitors, with a mobile device and earphones, to take part in an AR treasure hunt located in Avebury with clues about its 4,300 years of mystery.

Through a series of 3D visualisations, it gave them the opportunity to learn about the henge, great stone circle, the two smaller circles and the newly discovered square monument.

The app also gave an idea of just how deep the ditches and how high the banks were when originally built.

The results were published in a scientific journal.

Farbod, who was subsequently offered a fully funded research engineering research doctorate with BU including a three-year industry placement, said: “Many archaeological sites are less popular with younger people.

“But the location-based treasure hunt AR app clearly demonstrated how augmented reality can really engage different audiences.

“It opened my eyes to how AR can be used as a medium to enhance the physical world and convinced me even more that this was the future.”

Around the same time, Farbod made two long-term bets:

1. Game engines will become one of the most valuable software technologies by the end of the decade, as more industries adopt real-time 3D.

2. The rise in consumer AR will create a demand for technologies that feed real-world data into game engines where AR apps are made.

Farbod, pictured left, said: “I then spent the next few years researching Spatial Computing as a doctoral student (EngD).

“My work aimed to advance machine intelligence for AR apps, which led me to starting Phantom Tech.

“My current goal is to have a significant impact within the AR industry – by providing developers the tools to build context-aware AR apps.”

Farbod is CEO of Phantom Tech and Daniel, 26, is Chief Finance and Operations Officer.

Farbod said: “Our software – PhantomEngine – captures and contextualises real-world data for game developers.

“It provides a suite of tools for developers to be able to build AR apps, essentially the building bricks.

“We released an early access of PhantomEngine last November.

“Within two months we had over 400 sign-ups.

“Most of them came from Bournemouth University students and others from abroad so there is a global reach already.

“We’re now just over 500.”

Phantom Tech has a five-strong team.

Left to right: Daniel, Nikolay Penev, Farbod and Loui Eriksson.

In addition to Farbod and Daniel, Loui Eriksson is Software Architect & Lead Engineer; Nikolay Penev, Machine Learning Engineer, and Nazar El Sayed, AR Software Engineer.

Farbod said: “The one thing we have in common is we’re all former Bournemouth University students and we all have a background in games technology or related topics.

“It’s great because even though we all specialise in different areas, we all understand the market.”

In March, Phantom Tech had a Game Jam, the equivalent of a creative ‘hackathon’, where game developers had 78 hours to build an AR game using its software.

“We believe it was one of the first of its kind in the world and was a huge success,” said Farbod.

The pre-seed funding will enable the business to take its software to the wider games developer market.

Farbod said: “AR is going to evolve.

“It’s already in widespread use in business sectors such as architecture and automotive and that is only going to increase.

“Our vision is that people could be more physically connected with the world through augmented reality.

“This is the future – and we’re determined to be a big part of it.”