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Novel optics to 'revolutionize' augmented reality

09 Jul 2014

UK's TruLife Optics launches device for augmented reality devices; hologram technology creates industry-disruptive applications.

A new optical component will “transform the development of wearable augmented reality and head-up display devices,” according to its London, UK-based developer TruLife Optics.

The company is a spin-out from holographic technology company Colour Holographic. TruLife Optics plans to work with developers of augmented reality devices to provide customized, bespoke solutions based on this optic technology.

The patent-pending optical system, which incorporates two holograms, offers several features for developers of augmented reality devices. It allows images to be displayed in high definition, full colour and in 3D through the center of a field of vision.

The image is transparent, enabling the overlay of information on whatever subject is being viewed. The optic itself is lightweight, less than 2mm thick, and can be easily mass-produced for consumer and industrial applications.

Jonathan Lewis, CEO, commented, “The development of wearable augmented reality devices has been curtailed by the lack of an optical component that allows for the overlay of high-definition, full colour images. But with the launch of our optic, we are providing that missing piece in the augmented reality jigsaw puzzle.”

Technology

Trulife’s first product to be supplied to the developer community consists of a glass waveguide, measuring 100 x 30 x 2.8mm, which contains two postage stamp-sized holograms.

Light is transmitted into the first hologram and then turned through 90 degrees through the length of the waveguide, via total internal reflection, before hitting the second hologram and being turned a further 90 degrees then projected into the human eye. This allows for overlaid transparent images to be projected from the centre of the optic in perfect focus.

The technology has been developed by TruLife Optics in partnership with UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in Teddington. NPL will continue to work with TruLife Optics to further develop the technology and to provide additional sales and marketing support.

Simon Hall, Lead Scientist, Adaptive Optics at NPL, commented, “Together with the TruLife Optics team, we have created a game-changing technology that will lead to the acceleration in the development of augmented reality devices and applications.”

The device is now available and costs £300 (plus VAT) per unit for developers creating prototype devices. The cost of the optic for devices to be made in commercial volumes will depend on the final application and device to be produced. Principles of operation are shown in the following video:

About the Author

Matthew Peach is contributing editor to optics.org

AlluxaAUREA TECHNOLOGYOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHEdmund OpticsNUBURU IncPhoton Engineering, LLCFISBA
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