Optical engine reference design for smart glasses is ultra compact

April 20, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Optical engine reference design for smart glasses is ultra compact
Micro-display specialist Compound Photonics has introduced an ultra-compact, high-brightness 1080p optical engine reference design that fits into a volume under three cubic centimeters.

Optimized for the company's 0.26” diagonal, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 3.015-µm pixel, all-in-one Integrated Display Module (IDM) package, the optical engine design, says the company, enables system designers to rapidly develop AR/MR smart glasses that deliver naturalistic visual experiences in more ergonomic form factors approaching regular consumer eyewear. Prototype demonstration units have shown up to 2x brightness vs. other engine designs when projected into the new generation of 50°+ wide field of view (WFOV) waveguides.

"Since size of the display drives the overall optical engine volume, this engine can be up to 2x smaller than those built around similar resolution displays at larger pixel sizes," say Edmund Passon, Co-CEO at Compound Photonics. "The combination of CP’s high-reflectance LCoS display operating at >90% duty cycle and a new optical architecture delivers needed brightness improvement over previous designs to reduce power consumption while simultaneously illuminating a larger field of view and eyebox along with providing improved image quality and resolution required to take full advantage of these new-to-market WFOV waveguides.”

The company's IDM package measures 7.25 x 15.5 x 3.4 mm and is a complete display subsystem (including driver ASIC and passive components) with MIPI input that can be configured for a wide range of integration needs. It also incorporates the company’s NOVA display driver architecture for customizable, frame-by-frame control of refresh rate (up to 240 Hz), color sub-frame rate, and other parameters to optimize for low latency, short persistence and low power according to type of image content and use case.

"With the release of this reference design," says Andrew Shih, Compound Photonics’ Marketing and Business Development Manager, "system integrators, ODMs, and OEMs will have a tested and validated high-performance full optical/display subsystem solution that simplifies integration of pre-qualified microdisplay, optical engine and waveguide combinations into consumer AR glasses, thereby reducing development effort and accelerating time to market. Customers can now focus on their core competencies – industrial design, software integration,


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