Plessey partners with Vuzix to develop next-generation AR smart glasses
Plessey Semiconductors is linking with Vuzix to develop the necessary technologies for a new generation of AR smart glasses, based on the combination of Plessey’s microLED light source product family, Quanta-Brite and Vuzix expertise and IP in smart glasses and essential optic technologies.
Monolithic microLED technology from Plessey can be used to deliver smart glasses technology for a range of AR and MR (mixed-reality) applications for use indoors and out.
In addition, Vuzix has already developed an evolving family of smart glasses culminating in the Vuzix Blade, the next generation smart display with see-through viewing experience via proprietary waveguide optics. Formed from glass with precision nanostructures, the waveguide is a key component in an AR/MR product, enabling users to see high-resolution computer-generated graphics, images and information superimposed over images from the physical or real world.
In the development of its next-generation product, Vuzix has selected Plessey’s microLED-based Quanta-Brite light engine, which delivers high efficiency and an improvement in lumen output compared to other light sources currently available on the market.
Quanta-Brite 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 first level micro-optical elements to create a bright, largely collimated and highly uniform light source for the illumination of DMD and LCOS display engines.
Size, weight and power reduction are key considerations in AR/MR wearables. Quanta-Brite has been designed specifically for the next generation of Vuzix personal display systems.
“Plessey’s Quanta-Brite microLED 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-Brite 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.”
According to 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.”
The Consumer Technology Association says headsets and eyewear outfitted for AR and VR applications are set for record sales this year of $1.2bn in the US market alone.