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TOM application

The state of AR technology is reminiscent of the initial mobile phones. The large and expensive bag phones showed the value of portable phone communication, but the size, weight and energy requirements prevented their widespread adoption, which occurred only when handheld phones came to market.  

Integrating the imaging module of today’s AR technologies into the design of everyday eyewear frames and optics is a significant challenge. The current generation of developing AR solutions are leveraging waveguide or projection-based systems. Most smart glasses and some augmented reality glasses use holographic coatings, diffractive or reflective waveguides, prisms, or Fresnel surfaces as combiners and LCOS/DLP or laser projectors for light sources. 

Those technologies, proven by time, now either seem limiting, as they permit only small and incremental improvements, or too complex and costly for light eyewear design. The light and energy efficiency of the display and optical combiner limit performance and in turn affects functionality and comfort, a main reason why consumers have to date not accepted smart glasses.

A new approach

Instead, another approach is a design that replaces the light engine and optical engine with a single multilayer hermetically sealed transparent module. NSR’s Novel AR Transparent Optical Module (TOM) for Augmented Reality Glasses addresses many limitations of today’s AR devices, such as size, weight, efficiency, transparency and ability to be embedded within ophthalmic lenses.

TOM

TOM

The TOM comprises a proprietary transparent Light Engine (that uses a TOLED, OLED or iLED) and Micro-Lens Array (MLA) Optical Engine to project information from an image source to the eye of a user.   

The proprietary near eye display is see-through and uses pixels less than 5 microns in size. The micro-lens array is a proprietary design that collimates light from the pixels and projects a retinal image with a resolution of 1-2 arc minutes. TOM is hermetically sealed with a flexible multilayer coating that makes it resistant to sweat and environmental conditions.

NSR’s TOM can be embedded in the anterior surface of an eyeglass lens or removably attached to it. The real image and the virtual image are viewed through the point of regard on the eyeglass lens, resolving any conflict between accommodation and convergence in both monocular and binocular design configurations.

One of the main benefits of TOM is that it is a single thin, lightweight module. The innovation permits a thickness of ~1.75mm, weight of ~ 2 grams, transparency greater than 80% and light efficiency of 90+% that enables low power and long battery life. TOM can be curved to the front surface base curve of an ophthalmic lens and can be integrated into an eyewear lens by positioning it in a lens cavity for monocular or binocular AR/MR eyewear. 

NSR does not plan to develop a complete end-to-end solution, but a simple module that provides the display and optics for other manufacturers to leverage in their development process to address the “use cases” or applications optimized for their XR solutions.  Because the TOM is scalable, many application / user environments can be addressed. System Integrators may also build solutions by including the TOM as a critical element of their core design to address specific application environments.

Written by Phil Garfinkle, President and CEO and Svetlana Samoilova, Chief Technology Officer, NewSight Reality

Labels: augmented reality,NewSight Reality,near-eye display,smart glasses

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