10 Oct 2022
Custom microLEDs for high performance products, scaling with partners including GlobalFoundries and TSMC.Micledi Microdisplays, a developer of microLED displays for augmented reality glasses, and Kura Technologies, which makes AR headsets, have announced a collaboration to manufacture AR glasses.
The glasses are designed by Kura and will contain Micledi’s 300mm microLED displays. Based upon Kura’s proprietary architecture from the chip level up, the glasses feature what the partners call “groundbreaking performance capabilities”.
The partners have been working together for over a year with Micledi providing Kura early access to its microLEDs. Kura was one of the first customers to receive the microLEDs, enabling them to test their approach for driving microLED displays for AR glasses. Micledi will continue to provide Kura access to devices built in its 200mm fab as well as giving early access to customized blue, green and red devices from their 300mm wafer foundry.
Sean Lord, Micledi’s CEO commented, “We have had a chance to visit Kura’s office in the San Francisco Bay Area, meet their team and see their latest developments. We were impressed by their progress, the multi-disciplinary technical expertise, and the field-of-view and clarity of their demos.”
Kelly Peng, founder, CEO and CTO of Kura, said, “We have benefited from Micledi’s quick-turn 200mm prototype fabrication capability. More importantly, though, we feel that Micledi is well-positioned to achieve industry leadership in 300mm microLED fabrication, offering direct compatibility with our high-performance custom 300mm backplane.”
According to the market analyst Yole, the overall global AR market is estimated to reach $88.4 billion by 2027 with a CAGR above 30% from 2021 to 2027 “as it becomes the next consumer platform”.
“In May of this year, we announced a partnership with GlobalFoundries to bring our proprietary 300mm microLED designs into high volume, low cost, mass production. Working with Kura should provide mutually attractive timing and mass production ramp plans for both Micledi and GlobalFoundries,” added Lord
Kura says its proprietary architecture “enables dynamic defect correction, 100x resolution expansion, and can tolerate 10,000x the defect rate and 5x the uniformity variation of competitors, enabling [us] to go to market with high performance, 8K AR glasses with the microLED panels that can be built now and in the next year, not several years from now.”
Bayley Wang, co-founder and technical lead of Kura, said, “The partnership with GlobalFoundries allows us to take advantage of their expertise in large-scale, reliable manufacturing in order to reliably ramp our glasses to the 100,000s of units our customers are demanding. We're excited to be the only AR company we’re aware of that is working with such a large foundry to build our custom microdisplays. Combined with the successful tape-out of our custom mixed-signal display driver IC, we’re on track to build our displays and launch our product at scale.”
Micledi and IQE developing microLEDs for AR
Compound semiconductor wafer developer IQE has also entered into a partnership with Micledi Microdisplays. Under the agreement, IQE will provide Micledi with a 200mm (8-inch) platform to scale and commercialise this technology to achieve high-volume production for red microLEDs. This geometry allows for compatibility with both standard 200mm and 300mm silicon foundries, which enables the partnership to deliver economies of scale.
Americo Lemos, CEO of IQE, said, “MicroLEDs are the future of immersive display technologies and this agreement expands IQE’s position in a market which is poised for multi-billion dollar growth across a range of end-market applications, including everyday consumer electronics. Compound semiconductors are a critical enabler of scale in this market.”
Micledi’s Lord said, “We have formed a natural partnership to commercialise and scale our solution to address the high-growth microLED market. Our augmented reality products will enable new user experiences and we look forward to delivering this innovative technology under our new partnership.”
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