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New Optical Component Enhances Augmented Reality Devices

Photonics.com
Jul 2014
LONDON, July 10, 2014 — A novel optical component could transform wearable augmented-reality and display devices.

TruLife Optics Ltd. developed the component in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory in London. The 2-mm-thick optic incorporates two holograms and allows images to be displayed in high definition, perfect focus, full color and in 3-D, the company said. The image is transparent, which the product engineers said offers an ideal overlay of information “on whatever subject is being viewed.”

“The development of wearable augmented-reality devices has been curtailed by the lack of an optical component that allows for the genuine overlay of high-definition, full color and transparent images over the field of vision,” said TruLife Optics CEO Jonathan Lewis.

TruLife Optics plans to work with developers of augmented-reality devices to create customized components. The prototype incorporates two holograms, each the size of a postage stamp, on a glass waveguide approximately 2.8 mm thick.

Light transmitted into the first hologram is turned 90° and travels the length of the waveguide through total internal reflection. Next, the light hits the second hologram and is turned another 90°; this allows an image to be projected into the device wearer’s eye.

The component can be mass-produced for both consumer and industrial applications, the engineers said.

For more information, visit www.trulifeoptics.com.
  


GLOSSARY
optical component
One or more optical elements – typically cemented together - in an optical system that are treated as a single group; e.g., a beamsplitter, or a cemented doublet or triplet.
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