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Startup Dispelix puts virtual 1.5m display into smartglasses

13 Nov 2015

VTT spinoff says smartphone functionality can be integrated into ordinary glasses; sales planned from 2016.

A Spin-off company from Finnish research organization VTT Technical Research called Dispelix Oy is commercializing a new type of display – developed by VTT – which presents visual information directly into the user's field of vision, as a high-definition image on an eyeglass lens.

The developers say this technology could enable so-called smartglasses to replace smartphones or tablets, while still allowing wearers to see the world around them. Dispelix adds that the product is integrable with current smartglasses, and that it should be available commercially to consumers by the end of 2016.

Antti Sunnari, Managing Director of Dispelix Oy, said, “As electronics and optics evolve, displays will be seamlessly integrated into ordinary glasses. Future displays will have unlimited applications for consumer and professional use. The first applications will be found in the worlds of exercise, work and motor sports. For example, a sportsperson will no longer need to check his or her pulse-rate from a watch; pulse-rate, navigation and activity data will be directly displayed on sport glasses.”

He added, “The display is also ideal for enterprise applications. Smartglasses could boost work efficiency by allowing workers to use both hands in difficult conditions, or to learn more about a task. New applications for Dispelix's display technology and smartglasses will appear in healthcare, manufacturing and process industries and logistics.”

How it works

The technology is based on lightguide optics, which enables the manufacture of displays on either glass or plastic in the form of light and thin elements of 1mm thickness. In addition to thinness, the benefits of the technology include a large, high-quality virtual image and excellent transparency. The display element can also be freely shaped.

The virtual image forms within the user's field of vision, which has the benefit of preventing eye strain. Dispelix's display solution can be customized to meet different customer needs – depending on the application, either simple, monochrome information or a multi-coloured video image can be displayed within the user's field of vision.

Partner network

”The size of the virtual image is equivalent to a 60-inch (1.52m) TV viewed from a distance of 3m,” said Sunnari. “Dispelix is currently fund-raising and building a partner network in order to accelerate commercialisation.”

The displays are ready for volume production and the company aims to make the first customer deliveries in 2016. VTT estimates that the augmented reality and virtual reality markets will reach a sales value of $150 billion by 2020, of which the optics share will be approximately $1.5 billion.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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