Metamaterial Technologies Inc. of Dartmouth has partnered with global aerospace industry supplier Satair to produce goggles that can protect pilots and others from laser attacks.

MTI, which makes special materials that can alter the properties of light, is already working on a project with Airbus to produce linings for cockpit windows that can filter out lasers. Now, to get to markets more quickly, it will work with Satair to produce a product that individuals can wear to achieve the same ends.  

MTI announced the deal last week at the MRO Europe exhibition in Amsterdam, describing it as an “exclusive global multi-million dollar distribution agreement”. Founder and CEO George Palikaras said in an email they hope to have the product on the market early in the new year.

“The introduction of these new products will bring enhanced safety to pilots globally, answering the need to address a rising threat to pilot safety,” said Palikaras. He added the agreement will ensure on-time delivery and contribute to passenger safety without disrupting the operational continuity of airlines.

MTI is dedicated to producing metamaterials – materials whose compounds are not found in nature – that have an impact on light. The company is already working with Airbus to produce metaAIR, a transparent screen that fits on cockpit windshields to filter out laser beams.  The company is also working on products that can enhance solar power and provide other functions.  

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Palikaras said the work on the full-window solution for aircraft continues, but it is taking longer than the company had planned.  “This is the first time anything like this has been done before at a large scale with Aerospace regulations and quality assurance,” he said. “That is the reason we are going to market with our eyewear first.”

The eyewear product – which will include goggles and visors – will not only get a product on the market quickly. It will also allow MTI to expand to other sectors, such as law enforcement and defence.

MTI’s partner in the new product is Satair,  a subsidiary of Airbus that provides products and services to the global aircraft manufacturer. Satair employs more than 1,400 people and has more than $2 billion in annual sales.

"This deal is very unique in the sense that through a combined Airbus effort we have brought a startup company to production maturity,” said Satair CEO Bart Reijnen in a statement. “We have utilized cross functional resources internally in Airbus to bring MTI to this stage.” He added the MTI-Satair deal is the result of collaboration among many Airbus departments, programs and partners.

To help ramp up manufacturing of the product, MTI has hired a new Chief Product Officer -- Gardner Wade, who spent 18 years at the global eyeware maker Oakley, where he was Head of Product. He has moved from Silicon Valley to Halifax.

MTI has announced three funding deals worth almost $20 million, the largest of which was an $8.3 million round in April 2017, led by Radar Capital of Toronto.