Micledi Microdisplays in Belgium has signed a key deal to supply custom displays for high resolution 8K augmented reality (AR) glasses from Kura Technologies.
The new glasses are designed by Kura and incorporate Micledi’s microLED displays to achieve the performance required for Kura’s next generation of AR glasses. These are based on Kura’s proprietary architecture, and the displays can be built in high volume on 300mm wafers at GlobalFoundries and TSMC.
That proprietary architecture enables dynamic defect correction, 100x resolution expansion, and can tolerate 10,000x the defect rate and 5x the uniformity variation for 8K AR glasses with a 150° field-of-view to be built now and in the next year.
The two companies have been working together for over a year with Micledi providing Kura early access to advanced microLEDs under a closely held collaboration. Kura was one of the first customers to receive microLEDs from Micledi, enabling them to build and test their unique approach for driving and controlling microLED displays for AR smart glasses.
Under the partnership, Micledi will continue to provide Kura access to devices built in its 200mm fab as well as provide Kura with early access to customized blue, green and red devices as they come from their 300mm wafer foundry.
“Micledi is pleased to be an integral part of Kura’s innovation journey,” said Sean Lord, CEO of Micledi, which is a spin-out from imec. It combines III/V materials processing, 3D integration and 300mm silicon-based processing combined with a proprietary ASIC to provide a self-contained, compact monolithic AR display with high image quality and power efficiency.
“We’ve had a chance to visit Kura’s office in the Bay Area, meet their team and see their latest developments and demos. We were very impressed by their progress over the years, the multi-disciplinary technical expertise and the field-of-view and clarity of their demos,” he said.
“Kura’s fast-paced product engineering team has benefited tremendously from Micledi’s quick-turn 200mm prototype fabrication capability and responsive team of professional LED design and process experts,” said Kelly Peng, founder, CEO and CTO of Kura, which has over 350 customers in sectors including automotive, smartphone, telecom, entertainment, medical, and enterprise.
“More importantly, though, we feel that Micledi is well-positioned to achieve industry leadership in 300mm microLED fabrication, offering process advantages and direct compatibility with our high performance custom 300mm backplane.”
Smart Glasses market
According to the market analyst company, Yole, the overall global AR market is estimated to reach $88.4bn by 2027 with a compounded annual growth rate of more than 30% from 2021 to 2027 and beyond as it becomes the next consumer platform.
“In May of this year, we announced a partnership with GlobalFoundries to bring our proprietary 300mm microLED designs into high volume, low cost, mass production. Working with Kura should provide mutually attractive timing and mass production ramp plans for both Micledi and GlobalFoundries,” said Lord.
“The partnership with GlobalFoundries allows us to take advantage of their expertise in large-scale, reliable manufacturing in order to reliably ramp our glasses to the 100,000’s of units our customers are demanding. We’re excited to be the only AR company we’re aware of that is working with such a large foundry to build our custom microdisplays,” said Bayley Wang, co-founder and technical lead of Kura.
“Combined with the successful tape-out of our custom mixed-signal display driver IC, which is the world’s fastest micro display driving IC at our partner TSMC, we’re on track to reliably build our displays and launch our product at scale.”
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