October 15, 2020 – STMicroelectronics (ST), a global provider of semiconductor technologies, has recently announced the launch of the ‘LaSAR Alliance’ (Laser Scanning for Augmented Reality), an ecosystem of technology developers, suppliers and manufacturers collaborating to develop and accelerate augmented reality (AR) smart-glass solutions. Founding members in the LaSAR Alliance include Applied Materials, Dispelix, Mega1, and Osram, in addition to ST.
According to ST the Alliance will focus on meeting the technical challenges required for all-day wearable smart glasses, including requirements such as having eyewear devices balance a small, light-weight form factor and extremely low-power operation with good FoV (Field-of-View) and a large eyebox. ST added that its own Laser Beam Scanning (LBS) solutions demonstrated the potential to meet all these requirements.
Commenting on the Alliance, Anton Hofmeister, Vice President and General Manager, MEMS Microactuator Division at STMicroelectronics, said: “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.”
As a result, the LaSAR Alliance helps bring together all the foundational elements required for smart glass devices, including:
- A Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) micro-mirror platform and BCD expertise from ST;
- Compact illumination sources from Osram;
- Waveguide elements from Applied Materials and Dispelix; and
- The overall integration of these devices into a small optical light engine from Mega1.
One key objective of making AR-enabled smart glasses a reality is to assemble the above elements into a form factor that is stylish, functional, comfortable and delivers critical application-specific information, according to the companies. 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.
“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. “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. 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,” said Juuso Olkkonen, Dispelix CTO and co-founder.
“Miniaturized modular integration and automated volume production play pivotal roles in the ultimate success of the next generation AR wearable. Mega1’s LBS solution integrates all critical modules into 1.2 cubic centimeters in a 3 gram light-weight optical engine. With the aligned mission of LaSAR, Mega1 facilitates its strength to manufacture for volume production. We believe true AR adoption will come to realization soon with this powerful Alliance,” said Makoto Masuda, CTO & COO at Mega1.
Jörg Strauss, General Manager and Vice President of Visualization & Laser at Osram Opto Semiconductors, commented: “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.”
For more information on STMicroelectronics and the LaSAR Alliance, please visit the ST website.
Image credit: STMicroelectronics