Optical solutions for head-mounted displays (HMD) and augmented reality (AR) modules

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For more than 10 years DIOPTIC has been developing solutions for innovative display systems. Whether as head-mounted displays for runners and cyclists or head-up displays in cars – DIOPTIC technology can be found in many products.

Our innovations are not limited to the “optics”, but include sophisticated and patented holistic concepts. For example, the head-mounted displays for runners are passively backlit with fluorescent light to achieve the perfect brightness for all weather conditions – with 400 hours of battery life from a button cell.

Prototyp eines "Smart eyewear" Optikmoduls. Zur Farbkorrektur sind diffraktive Strukturen auf der displayseitigen Oberfläche aufgebracht.

Optics for head-mounted displays and Smart Glasses

Microdisplays with very small pixels are often used for head-mounted displays and applications in the fields of augmented and virtual reality. For example, a Full-HD display has a diagonal of less than 20 mm! Due to the small size of the displays, the demands on the imaging performance of the optics are particularly high.

At the same time, the following also applies in such applications: Resolution is not everything! Many other factors such as weight, size, battery life and heat generation are equally important for the acceptance and usability of the product.

In some products in the field of augmented reality, waveguides are used as optical elements. Although they allow compact solutions, they are not compatible with all displays. In addition, they pose great challenges in production and can hardly be manufactured economically in smaller quantities. Therefore, we focus on “classical” refractive or reflective systems, which in many cases are the better solution for the reasons mentioned above.

Funktionsmuster eines Head-Mounted Displays zur Wiedergabe des Bildes einer Thermografiekamera.

From the innovative idea to series production

We are happy to support our customers from the very beginning in the project definition phase in order to unite the competing requirements in a goal-oriented way. This way we can ensure that the development of an optical module can be started with a good specification document. Depending on your requirements, we then carry out the development process from an initial concept study, through the production and construction of prototypes, to series production.

Kleinserienproduktion eines Augmented Reality oder Mixed Reality Optikmoduls bestehend aus hochauflösendem Display und beugungsbegrenztem Okular.

Components from stock for prototypes

In the development of HMDs and augmented reality solutions, the optical assembly is only one element among many. In addition to the display and optical module, electronics, mechanics and software are also required. In order to advance the software development in the best possible way and to evaluate the ergonomics of the system, it is helpful if first prototypes can be built in an early project phase.

Here DIOPTIC can support with optical components available from stock. In this way, first demonstrators can be built at low cost without having to complete the development of an optical system exactly adapted to the task. This means that the overall development is not slowed down by the optics development.

Our contribution for the future

In the joint project “Glass@Service”, funded by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi), we and our partners have been working on the question under which conditions interactive Smart Glasses for augmented reality can be successfully used in an industrial environment. Together with the partners Siemens, Uvex, Ubimax, the Fraunhofer-Institut FEP and the Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA), aspects ranging from optical imaging quality to occupational safety were investigated. The results of the project are binocular AR glasses with an optical module developed by DIOPTIC with very good image quality for HD OLED microdisplays from the Fraunhofer Institute FEP.

In a further research project, starting this year, we will work together with the company Jadent and the Digital Health Lab Düsseldorf on augmented reality assistance solutions for medical applications.

If we have aroused your interest, please contact our expert.

To get advice, check our website for optical design or contact: Dr. Malte Hagemann | Phone: +49 6201 650 40-19