Circle Optics wins $1.25M for the AFWERX SBIR PHASE II to Create 3D Modeling Using 360-degree Image Capture and Sensor Fusion 


Circle Optics, a pioneer in imaging technology, has been awarded a $1.25M SBIR Phase II grant by AFWERX to develop 3D modeling using 360-degree image capture and sensor fusion, aimed at enhancing the United States' national defense capabilities. This funding supports the collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory to leverage Circle Optics' Hydra technology for creating immersive 3D scans of environments, marking a significant advancement in volumetric video technology. Founded in 2017 and based in Rochester, New York, Circle Optics is at the forefront of revolutionizing aerospace, autonomous systems, and entertainment industries with its innovative, non-parallax camera system, contributing to the United States' defense industrial base and technological superiority.

Rochester, New York– Circle Optics annouces it has been selected by AFWERX for a SBIR Phase II in the amount of $1.25M focused on 3D Modeling Using 360-degree Image Capture and Senor Fusion to address the most pressing challenges in the Department of the Air Force (DAF). The Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWEX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process by accelerating the small business experience through faster proposal to award timelines, changing the pool of potential applicants by expanding opportunities to small business and eliminating bureaucratic overhead by continually implementing process improvement changes in contract execution. The DAF began offering the Open Topic SBIR/STTR program in 2018 which expanded the range of innovations the DAF funded as of February 2, 2024, Circle Optics extended it technical journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will strengthen the national defense of the United States of America.  

Circle Optics’ Founder and CEO Zak Niazi shares his enthusiasm, “The holy grail for immersive 360 video is volumetric, 3D 360 video. We are exploring through a partnership with AFRL, how we can utilize our Hydra technology to enable immersive 3D scans of environments in a scalable way.” 

“The views expressed are those of Circle Optics and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.” 

About Circle Optics

Circle Optics, founded in 2017, is revolutionizing imaging for aerospace, autonomous systems, and entertainment industries by delivering unparalleled accuracy in situational awareness without parallax errors. Our breakthrough non-parallax camera system eliminates the stitching problem, ensuring seamless, high-quality visuals that redefine precision and reliability in critical applications. This unique capability is revolutionizing aerospace, unmanned flight, and enhancing immersive experiences globally. With 15 patents and pending, the team has optics/mechanical engineering expertise from IMAX, Kodak, L3Harris, and others.  Circle Optics is located in Rochester, New York, known as the optics capital of the world. 

about AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit  


As the innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFWERX brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. AFWERX employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4 billion budget. Since 2019, AFWERX has executed 4,697 contracts worth more than $2.6 billion to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit:    

Contact Circle Optics

Jennifer Sertl, Director of Marketing


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