Foundry Group Leads New Round In Oblong Industries To Push Computing Into “The Minority Report” Age

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Oblong Industries just announced a Series B funding round led by The Foundry Group. Together with Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners and Energy Technology Ventures (a GE-NRG Energy-ConocoPhillips venture) Oblong Industries is looking to further the development of its groundbreaking computing systems. That’s not hyperbole either. MG spent some time with the company last summer and walked away very impressed.

The Foundry Group, already an Oblong investor, led the new funding round with the two new partners. Financial details of the round were not released. When MG last reported on Oblong last summer, it already had positive cash flow for a year thanks to partnerships with companies for its boardroom collaboration platform, Mezzanine. They hadn’t raised money since a Series A back in 2007 and still developed what is, quite possibly, one of the most impressive forms of computing to date.

“We founded Oblong because we want to make computers better, smarter, and easier to use. We’re proud of the multi-user, multi-screen, multi-device spatial operating environment we’re supplying to partners like Boeing, SAP, and GE Digital Energy. And we look forward to taking that platform to broader markets in 2012.” indicated Kwindla Hultman Kramer, Oblong’s Chief Executive Officer, in a statement today.

The new funding will be used partially to help with product development and commercialization. The company notes in the announcement that GE Digital Energy recently licensed Oblong’s technology for use in its Smart Grid analytics software. The funding will be used in part to help properly scale existing products to meet such demands.

Oblong Industries’ Chief Science Officer is the man who advised the filmmakers behind Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Minority Report. MG notes in his hands-on with Mezzanine that “it just works” and indicated that Mezzanine’s remote is like a Wiimote but “much more accurate and insanely more functional.” Hand gesture recognition is developed but is still too expensive to implement — but soon you could be flying through a computer UI like Tom Cruise.

Here’s the video MG shot last summer. Welcome to the future.