TDK teams full colour laser module in AR smart glasses

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

TDK has developed a full-colour laser module (FCLM) small enough to use in AR smart glasses.

The direct retinal laser projection module was developed with QD Laser in the US with a planar lightwave circuit jointly developed with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). This combination allows direct laser projection into both eyes to deliver a higher field of view than waveguide systems.

TDK used its proprietary and long-established manufacturing technologies for magnetic heads of hard disk drives (HDD) to create devices suited to new growth areas such as AR/VR smart glasses and the metaverse.

The smart glasses will be on show at CEATEC 2022 in Japan next week, followed by electronica 2022 in Germany in November and CES 2023 in the USA in January, where Porotech is showing a full colour single-microLED display for smart glasses.

The TDK demonstration will showcase how projection is made possible for both eyes of the laser direct retinal projection glasses using the FCLM, overcoming the long-standing issue of displays with a narrow viewing angle.

The FCLM measures 5.5 ㎜ x 10.8 ㎜ x 2.6 ㎜ and weighs 0.38m, delivering 16.2m colours. The smart glasses design also includes photo diodes for temperature monitoring.

The laser direct retinal projection method makes images visible regardless of the viewer’s eyesight. In addition, the ability to simultaneously see the real world scene through the glasses and view information displayed without having to shift focus enables new usage scenarios that are perfect for smart glasses. This is an important feature that cannot be achieved using other projection methods.

TDK says it will continue development of the FCLM based on the results from this demonstration sample to drive the adoption of AR/VR smart glasses.

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