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Wearable Technology Insights
Posted on June 12, 2018 by  & 

Partnership to develop next generation AR smart glasses

Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies and products for the consumer and enterprise markets, is pleased to announce that the Company is partnering with Plessey Semiconductor, a leading developer of award-winning optoelectronic solutions. The two companies are partnering to develop advanced display engines for Vuzix waveguide optics to enable next generation AR Smart Glasses. The combination of Vuzix' extensive expertise and IP in smart glasses and waveguide optic technologies along with Plessey's microLED light source product family, Quanta-BriteTM will be the basis for a new generation of AR Smart Glasses with the sleekest form factors to date. For more information see the IDTechEx report on augmented, mixed and virtual reality.
In the development of its next-generation waveguide based products, Vuzix has selected Plessey's microLED- based Quanta-BriteTM light engine, which delivers extremely high efficiency with significant improvements in lumen output compared to other light sources currently available on the market. The smaller and more efficient microLED based Quanta-BriteTM light engine will not only result in less energy consumption and improved battery life, but also enables Vuzix to cut a significant amount of volume from the display engine in future generations of waveguide based smart glasses, while at the same time delivering improved optical performance at a reduced cost.
Quanta-BriteTM is based on Plessey's advanced and proprietary gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology, with an integrated monolithic array of RGB pixels with advanced micro-optical elements to create a bright, largely collimated and highly uniform light source for the illumination in advanced display engines. The resulting optical system is up to 50% smaller, lighter, simpler and cheaper than incumbent solutions and the high performance microLED emitters combined with minimal optical system losses result in significantly increased power efficiency. Size, weight and power reduction are key considerations in AR/MR wearables. Quanta-BriteTM has been designed specifically for the next generation of Vuzix personal display systems.
The combination of Vuzix' recently announced collaboration with Qualcomm around the Snapdragon XR1 platform and Plessey's Quanta-BriteTM microLEDTM technology along with next generation waveguide optics should enable Vuzix to develop powerful AR smart glasses in form factors nearly indistinguishable from regular eyeglasses. These new AR Glasses, expected to be introduced in 2019, should lead the market in terms of processing power designed for AR, overall imaging performance and most importantly style, "This development with Vuzix, the leading provider of next-generation augmented reality glasses, is a significant endorsement of Plessey's GaN-on-silicon microLED approach," said Dr Keith Strickland, Chief Technology Officer at Plessey. "Monolithic microLED technology is fast emerging as the only one that can provide high luminance in a very small form factor with minimal energy consumption, necessary for reducing costs and enabling lightweight battery-powered products for a range of emerging consumer and industrial applications."
"Plessey's Quanta-BriteTM microLEDTM technology can be a major enabler of the future of augmented reality," said Vuzix President and CEO Paul Travers. "As well as delivering high-efficiency, low-power and small-size illumination capabilities, the very high level of luminescence of the Quanta-BriteTM light source can also enable the development of end products with a sleeker form factor, which is a key attribute of our waveguide based Smart Glasses and critical to mass market adoption."
Source and top image: Vuzix
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