LaSAR Alliance to accelerate AR eyewear adoption
Semiconductor company STMicroelectronics (ST) has announced the launch of the LaSAR (Laser Scanning for Augmented Reality) Alliance — an ecosystem of leading technology developers, suppliers and manufacturers collaborating to develop and accelerate augmented reality (AR) smart-glass solutions. Founding members of the Alliance include Applied Materials, Dispelix, MEGA1 and Osram, in addition to ST.
The Alliance is focused on meeting the technical challenges required for all-day wearable smart glasses. The eyewear will balance a small, lightweight form factor and low-power operation with good field of view and a large eyebox. The founding members coalesced around the recognition that near-to-eye displays based on ST-developed laser beam scanning (LBS) solutions have demonstrated the potential to meet all these requirements.
The Alliance’s mission is to facilitate the development, availability and support of all key technology elements for rapid AR-enabled smart-glass application creation, adoption and volume production. It brings together a MEMS micro-mirror platform and BCD expertise from ST, compact illumination sources from Osram, advanced waveguide elements from Applied Materials and Dispelix, and the overall integration of these devices into a small optical light engine from MEGA1. These elements can be assembled into AR-enabled smart glasses that are stylish, functional, comfortable and able to deliver critical application-specific information.
“With its leadership developing and delivering in volume a high-performance, low-power, laser-beam scanning MEMS micro-mirror solution that combines MEMS mirrors, MEMS driver, laser driver and control software, ST recognised the value of its technology to augmented reality and especially to smart glasses and eyewear,” said Anton Hofmeister, Vice President and General Manager MEMS Microactuator Division, STMicroelectronics. “In working with Applied Materials, Dispelix, Osram and MEGA1 to bring their critical expertise to establish LaSAR, we see a powerful alliance of exceptional technical strength that aims to accelerate the adoption of augmented reality in comfortable smart glass eyewear through foundational developments.”
“One of the most critical requirements needed to support widespread growth of the AR industry is the ability to manufacture high-quality, high-performance, affordable waveguides,” said Wayne McMillan, General Manager of Applied Materials’ Engineered Optics program. “Applied Materials is answering this need with our decades-long leadership in materials engineering and expertise in precision manufacturing at an industrial scale. We are excited to work with the LaSAR Alliance and others in the industry to accelerate the availability of all-day-wear smart glasses for AR applications.”
“Dispelix is delighted to join the LaSAR Alliance,” added Juuso Olkkonen, Dispelix CTO and co-founder. “We’re combining our world-leading waveguide technology with advanced technologies from the alliance partners to make it easier for our customers to integrate a complete display solution for advanced all-day wearables. Our innovations will set a new benchmark for what is already the thinnest and lightest waveguide technology in the industry — without sacrificing image quality.”
“Miniaturised modular integration and automated volume production play pivotal roles in the ultimate success of the next-generation AR wearable,” said MEGA1 CTO and COO Makoto Masuda. “Mega1’s LBS solution integrates all critical modules into 1.2 cc in a 3 g lightweight optical engine. With aligned mission of LaSAR, Mega1 facilitates its strength to manufacture for volume production. We believe true AR adoption will come to realisation soon with this powerful alliance.”
“We constantly work to miniaturise and optimise our RGB (red, green, blue) laser portfolio because we know size and power are critical parameters for our AR customers,” concluded Jörg Strauss, General Manager and Vice President of Visualization & Laser at Osram Opto Semiconductors. “Being a founding member of LaSAR enables us to contribute to the Alliance’s technical strength that will help resolve the system challenges of LBS adoption in all-day-wear AR eyewear.”
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