Waveguide Technology


waveguide technology

The increasing demand for augmented reality wearable solutions is highlighting a not-so-new term in the immersive world – optical waveguide.

It is not a new development in the tech world; it has been around for quite a while and is known as the most preferred choice for augmented reality glasses.

Before moving forward, let’s take a look at what waveguide technology is.


What is Waveguide Technology?


Waveguide technologies are thin, transparent pieces of plastic or glass that have unique properties for transmitting light. This technology has been a crucial component in creating augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) experiences.

Waveguide technology has been used in various technology applications, including LED backlights, holographic waveguides, and fibre optics, among others, to direct electromagnetic waves in specific directions or patterns.

In near-eye devices (NEDs), optical waveguides are used to bend and combine light, channelling it into the eye to create virtual images that are overlaid onto the environment.

The waveguide layer uses total internal reflection (TIR) to propagate a light field, which reflects light between the outer and inner edges of the waveguide layer with minimal light leakage.

A waveguide display is similar to fibre optic technology, which guides a unidirectional wave of light through a cable. Waveguide lenses use this same principle to guide light through a lens or a planar waveguide, from one end to the other.

This technology was first commercialized by Lumus Optics, which has recently become the OEM supplier for companies like Daqri and Atheer. A popular example of waveguide display technology can be seen in Google Glass, where a micro-display is combined with a prism to direct the light into the wearer’s field of view.


Pros and cons compared to other wearable devices on the market


Pros of waveguide optic smart glasses:

  • Eyewear appearance, close to consumer product — flat and thin eyepiece, good external light transmission.
  • Optimises space in the design, making them more lightweight and ergonomic.
  • Minimises vision blocking, allowing the wearer to see their surroundings while viewing virtual content.
  • Multi-layer stackable — creates virtual images at different depths (3D).
  • Provides high-quality, clear images with low levels of light leakage, resulting in an immersive AR experience.


Cons of waveguide optic smart glasses:

  • Geometric waveguide: complicated manufacturing process with possible low yield.
  • Diffractive waveguide: colour dispersion could cause colour dispersion from diffraction which can lead to the creation of rainbow and haze effects that have the potential to negatively impact image quality.
  • High cost, as waveguide technology is still relatively new and expensive to manufacture.
  • Can have reduced resolution of virtual content due to the size of the waveguide, varying between brands.


What is the latest waveguide technology on the market?


The ARGO™ Smart glasses by DigiLens, are the world’s first scalable plastic waveguide that enables high-performance XR/AR smart glasses in a lightweight form factor.

ARGO™ smart glasses are designed with best-in-class crystal waveguides, offering industry-leading minimal eye glow and a small footprint, resulting in a more user-friendly and socially acceptable product.

ARGO™ waveguide optics have been specifically designed from the start to cater to enterprise users who require indoor and outdoor functionality at a cost-effective price point. With ARGO™, partners can create devices and experiences that seamlessly integrate into people’s lives.

These glasses aim to enhance communication and collaboration by creating a digitally enabled workforce across various industries, empowering frontline workers from the operating room to the field.

These plastic waveguides perform at nearly the same level as glass while drastically reducing the weight and long-term manufacturing cost. Currently sitting as the very best, most affordable, safest, and lightest waveguides on the market today.

Realtime AR Digitalisation Consultants are versed and trained with the best knowledge to assist you in selecting the best wearable technology for your organization and remote workers.

Reach out to us today for a complimentary demo session, and to have any questions regarding these technologies answered.

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