TCL announced a new AR smartglasses product, which it calls the Thunderbird Smart Glasses Pioneer Edition. TCL did not reveal much, but it says the color display is based on microLED technology, with a pixel pitch of 4 um. TCL did not release any estimated shipping dates or a price for this new product, which is likely still at an early stage.The video above is not clear, but it seems as if this solution uses three monochrome microdisplays, combined to show a single full-color image (the video shows one panel, but it later shows three monochrome images combined into one full-color display). This kind of solution was suggested by Vuzix, based on JBD's 0.13" VGA monochrome microdisplays. Which incidentally offer a pixel pitch of 4um, which leads us to speculate that TCL is also basing its Thunderbird glasses on JBD's displays.
AR developer Mojo Vision was chosen by The Walt Disney Company to participate in the 2021 Disney Accelerator. Mojo Vision is among the eight companies that will receive a three-month mentorship program that will connect them with the creativity, imagination and expertise of Disney.
Mojo Vision's AR platform is based on microLED microdisplay technology, produced on contact lenses. In 2019, Mojo announced that it has developed a 14k sub-pixel PPI Micro-LED microdisplay
Xiaomi announced its first smart glasses, called unimaginatively the Xiaomi Smart Glasses. These light-weight (51 grams) glasses will offer a monochrome (green) display and speakers, microphones and a 5MP camera, and will connect to your smartphone for notifications, navigation and will have applications such as real-time translation. It will support Xiaomi's XiaoAI Virtual Assistant.
Xiaomi says the microLED display is 0.13-inch in size, with a peak brightness of 2-million nits. The pixel pitch is 4 um. While not official, this is highly likely to be JBD's 0.13" VGA microLED display panel, revealed last year.
Diffrative waveguides for AR developer WaveOptics (owned by Snap) announced a strategic supply partnership with Jade Bird Display (JBD) for MicroLED microdisplays. JBD will supply its 0.13-inch VGA microdisplays to WaveOptics, to be incorporated into the company's Leopard development kit.
The Leopard AR reference kit has a form-factor similar to traditional consumer eyewear available, with a single projector (right-side only), providing a monochrome (green) image. The Leopard uses WaveOptics’ ‘Katana’ waveguide platform, its thinnest and lightest waveguide at 1.15 mm thick and 7 grams. The light engine, called Loki, is designed by WaveOptics with the JBD microLEDs and weighs 6 grams and has a volume of 760 mm3.
SAPIEN Semiconductors, based in Korea, is a fabless design company that provides innovative PWM CMOS backplane and µ-driver ICs for Micro-LED displays. The company utilizes its own patented technologies to achieve lower power consumption, lower leakage, better repairability and improved testability.
In the following interview, we discuss the company’s technology and business with its CEO, Myunghee Lee.
Q: Hello Mr. Lee, thank you for your time. Can you give us a short introduction to SAPIEN and your microLED technologies?
SAPIEN specializes in developing CMOS Backplane SoCs (System-on-Chip) for Micro-LED display applications. SAPIEN was founded in 2017 by industry veterans who have over 230 years of combined design experience in Display Driver ICs (DDI).
Vuzix have officially launched its microLED display engines. These tiny (<0.4 cc and only 6.2 mm wide) devices offer over 2 million nits and feature 1 um pixels. Vuzix did not detail the resolution, but it less than HD (so likely to something like VGA or so).
Vuzix says that samples of the new engines are now available upon request. These are monochrome devices, and one would have to use three (red, green, and blue) for a full color display. Vuzix is developing full-color and higher-resolution (HD) engines. Vuzix says that its next-generation smart glasses will adopt these devices which are now on offer to customers.
DSCC says that the AR and VR markets are set for quick growth, and display sales for AR and VR devices will grow at a CAGR of 52% between 2020 and 2026, to reach $4.2 billion in sales (up from $347 million in 2020). This forecast does not include military applications.
The main bulk of the market will remain displays for VR, as actual see-through AR will remain a relatively small market even in 2026. DSCC see microLED technologies providing a breakthrough in this market, but actual microLED display shipments will remain low, around 5%. The market will be dominated by OLED microdisplays.
In 2020 Compound Photonics (CP) announced its high-performance IntelliPix microLED microdisplay backplane technology. CP's backplane supports resolutions up to 2048x2048 and a pixel pitch from 1.5 um and up.
Compound Photonics now announced a partnership with specialty foundry GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) to produce the IntelliPix backplanes. CP's devices will be realized on GF’s best-in-class 22FDX specialty semiconductor platform.