AR wearables, such as smart glasses, enable users to see digital images overlaid on top of the real world. There are two key elements that allow these images to be seen – a light source such as a minute projector and a means of transferring the image from the projector into the user’s eyes.
A very important characteristic of an AR near eye display is the eye-box. WaveOptics waveguides make a large eye-box possible. The key to our technology is a concept called two-dimensional pupil expansion. WaveOptics Chief Scientist Salim Valera explains and contrasts our technology to conventional methods in this video.
The eye-box is the viewing area over which the AR image can be seen. Move your eye to the edge of a small eye-box and the image may start to fade or even cut-off abruptly. Additionally, a pair of smart glasses with a small eye-box will only suit users with average set eyes. Users with narrow or wide-set eyes may see AR images that are missing significant edge content.
The larger the eye-box the easier it is for smart glasses designers to create a one-size fits all product that feels like you are looking out of a window rather than through a keyhole.
When we develop a new waveguide design, we follow a closed development loop which allows us to continuously improve the design. Once the waveguide has been designed, WaveOptics has developed a software tool to simulate its function based on a hybrid model that uses robust coupled wave analysis (RCWA) and ray tracing.
Our tool incorporates both geometric information of our structures as well as the properties of the materials we use. Once the simulation is complete, the waveguide is fabricated using our custom mastering and nano-imprinting methods which very accurately implement the design.Learn more about Manufacturing
The prototype and production waveguides are then subject to characterisation tests. We use in-house designed instrumentation to measure key parameters such as efficiency, luminance and colour uniformity and contrast.
After characterisation tests, the design is improved based on the feedback and the loop is repeated. The closed loop development cycle and WaveOptics’ in-house tools have two key advantages, namely a reduction in the number of fabrication cycles and the confident prediction of the outcome of customisation.
We are always at the forefront of innovation and development. Our enabling technologies will either add new features to our products or enhance their performance.
WaveOptics was founded by three engineers who were design authorities for a large multi-national company. Their specialised experience in head-up and near eye displays proved to be a perfect foundation on which to build a technology company.
Today, we have over 45 research and development scientists and engineers working at the cutting edge of AR. All have undergraduate degrees, and over 70% have Masters or PhDs.
We moved into our new purpose-built facility in March 2019. Approximately 25% of the floor area, representing 3,500 sq. ft, is occupied by R&D facilities including dark-rooms, prototyping facilities, machine shop, 3D print room and a customer suite. Visiting customers can evaluate their designs and work effectively in the privacy of the dedicated customer suite.