February 3, 2020 – UK-based WaveOptics has unveiled its Katana waveguide design at Photonics West Photonics West 2020. The company anticipates that the Katana waveguide will help expand augmented reality (AR) wearable design possibilities for consumer technology companies with ambitions to make AR wearables for the mass market.
According to WaveOptics, to date, AR wearables have struggled to balance image quality with stylish, affordable headset design suitable for everyday use. Katana overcomes this challenge through its design which addresses three barriers to wider consumer adoption: level of power usage, cost, and design.
“Katana is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for augmented reality headsets, bringing mass market ambitions closer to reality,” said David Hayes, CEO of WaveOptics. “As the thinnest, full colour waveguide now available on the market, Katana enables our customers to design new products that can meet the performance expectations of a wider range of consumers, and we can help them do that at the right price point. As 5G takes off and the focus turns to wearables, we are looking forward to seeing what our customers will do with this technology.”
All WaveOptics’ waveguides can be customised and are designed with mass manufacture in mind. This means waveguides can be tailored to suit the exact design needs of any consumer use case – from sports applications to retail to everyday city navigation – without compromising on affordability or scale.
At 1.15 mm in thickness and weighing only 7g, Katana is the latest addition to WaveOptics’ range of waveguide technology platforms that deliver augmented reality experiences. Katana waveguide technology represents the next generation platform of WaveOptics waveguides.
As part of today’s announcement, international optical glass technology group SCHOTT has also stated that WaveOptics’ Katana waveguides will be based exclusively on the SCHOTT RealView product line of high-index glass wafers with 1.8 refractive index (RI).
“In this partnership, we are enhancing WaveOptics’ superior device properties by the outstanding performance of our SCHOTT RealView wafers,” said Dr. Ruediger Sprengard, Head of Augmented Reality at SCHOTT. “We’re proud to contribute to pave the way towards AR for customers.”
WaveOptics and SCHOTT are also engaged in a collaboration with two other enterprises to present waveguides made on glass substrate with a refractive index of 1.9. The recently announced collaboration involves a matching nanostructured polymer from Inkron OY, produced on a 300 mm wafer-processing platform from EV Group (EVG) designed for mass production.
Image credit: WaveOptics
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Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.