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Display Week showcases AR breakthroughs and more

23 May 2018

55th edition of LA’s screen-fest also celebrates the half-century of liquid crystal displays.

This week, the 55th edition of Display Week is being presented by the Society for Information Display (SID), at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California.

Display Week is the world’s leading event focused on emerging electronic display technologies, attracting attendees from the entire ecosystem of R&D, engineering, design, manufacturing, as well as commercial and consumer end-user markets.

Here, optics.org reports on certain highlights from some of the show’s larger exhibitors.

Schott’s RealView glass wafers ‘bring AR to life’

Schott is unveiling its RealView system, which it describes as “a breakthrough in high-index glass wafers”. The glass development enables more immersive augmented reality applications, claims the specialist glass-making giant.

The new wafers are made from optical glass with a high refractive index, enabling a wider field of view in AR devices. The geometrical precision of the wafer surface enables what Schott calls “superior picture quality with the best contrast and highest definition, enhancing the user experience.”

RealView doubles the total internal reflection angle compared to conventional glass wafers. Schott says this development gives AR device manufacturers the first opportunity to expand the FOV almost to the limit of human peripheral vision.

The company produces the raw glass in its high-tech melting facilities in Germany, and the wafer manufacturing and optical coating takes place in China, where Schott recently announced a joint venture investment together with Zhejiang Crystal-Optech.

“Augmented reality should still look like reality," said Dr. Rüdiger Sprengard, VP and Head of Augmented Reality. "To raise the bar and meet the requirements of this rapidly expanding market, manufacturers need superior optical wafers with qualities a full order of magnitude greater than what has previously appeared on the market."

Corning’s advanced glasses

Another big name in glass-making, Corning is exhibiting its advanced glass portfolio at Display Week. Applications include large-size LCD TVs, OLED illuminated mobile phones, and yet more immersive augmented reality devices.

“We are leveraging Corning’s core technologies and our manufacturing and engineering expertise to drive the next wave of display innovations,” said Chris Hudson, international division VP and commercial director. “Today, the display industry is witnessing a shift to the next generation of devices, and Corning is excited to be at the forefront of this continued evolution.” Corning’s booth #1029 features the following technologies:

  • Lotus NXT Glass: enhances the design and manufacture of high-performance displays, and is optimized for the expanding LTPS-LCD and LTPS-OLED industries.
  • Gorilla Glass: the cover glass of choice for more than 40 major OEMs, which is featured on billions of consumer electronic devices.
  • Augmented Reality Solutions: enabling cutting-edge augmented reality/mixed reality devices. Corning offers a reliable supply of high-index glasses, polymers, automated laser glass-cutting, and characterization tools.
  • Iris Glass: is a glass light-guide plate for edge-lit LCD TVs and monitors. Due to its intrinsic rigidity and dimensional stability, it allows manufacturers to reduce thickness, increase brightness, and design sets with slimmer bezels.

Also during Display Week, experts from Corning were set to make presentations at the 2018 SID/DSCC Business Conference, the Display Week Symposium, and SID’s LCD 50th Anniversary Celebration (see below).

DigiLens presents 2-layer AR display for HUDs

Hot on the heels of a $25 million Series C fundraising round, AR-VR solutions developer DigiLens is introducing a new waveguide eyeglass display for AR apps. The system is constructed from only two inkjet coated grating layers. The company states, “It's thinner, lighter, brighter, and significantly lower in cost.”

The DigiLens MonoHUD is intended for smart helmet applications now being developed across the industry. The MonoHUD provides motorcycle and bike riders with distraction-free content directly in their line of sight, so they can keep their eyes focused on the road ahead.

It enables variables such as speed, gear change, fuel and oil level status to be monitored, along with maps, real-time accident warnings, music and other non-distractive smartphone applications—all without riders needing to take their eyes off the road. In addition to the new two-layer display that replaces the previous three-layer design, DigiLens has started using a new inkjet coating manufacturing process with significantly increased throughput.

"The increased quality of the two-layer display and the reduction in manufacturing complexity is crucial for our customers," said DigiLens CEO Chris Pickett. "It lowers the production costs and allows them to get product to market quicker. We are already seeing several innovative use cases like motorcycle HUDs and are seeking developers to show us what's next."

Young Optics, a leading display manufacturer, is one of the first to license the DigiLens MonoHUD, and will soon be supplying it at high volume. Sena, an industry leader in Bluetooth communications for motorcycle and action sports, is working with Young Optics to integrate the DigiLens display and its communication system into helmets to allow riders to view their phone and dash information through the display.

50 years of LCD displays

Display Week organizer Society for Information Display announced that this year’s event would have a special event celebrating 50 years of the liquid crystal display. A SID release stated, “LCDs are currently a US$100-plus billion industry, ubiquitous in everyday products such as TVs, smartphones and computer monitors, and being designed into indoor signage and AR/VR systems – to name a few.”

On Tuesday afternoon, May 22nd, SID hosted an exclusive event entitled "Pioneering the Trail to Today: 50 Years of LCD Innovations", featuring brief talks from industry leaders illuminating the past, present and exciting future of LCD technology.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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