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Lumus’ new smart glasses displays are AR for everyone

Smart glasses are coming, and since augmented reality wearables need to be closer to designer sunglasses than they are to Google Glass, transparent displays need to raise their game. That’s just what smart eyewear display specialist Lumus is doing, bringing along its latest Sleek display prototype to CES 2023 this week to show how AR could have mass-market appeal.

The goal, unsurprisingly, is to put transparent displays into eyewear that wouldn’t look out of place racked next to traditional eyeglasses and sunglasses. For that Lumus’ latest consumer focused side-mounted optical engine has a much smaller footprint, and is less bulky too.

“One of the major improvements we’ve made, we’ve done a lot more about 2-axis expansion,” Ari Grobman, CEO of Lumus, explained to SlashGear exclusively ahead of the show. “It’s basically how the waveguide expands the image on one axis, but also while you expand the projection into the waveguide.”

The result is a smaller projection unit, but without necessarily compromising on what the wearer sees. This new Lumus Sleek design still delivers 720p resolution graphics in each eye, and with a 40-degree field-of-view. Grobman suggests even bigger improvements are just at hand, promising “a quantum leap in field-of-view” and form-factor in the second half of the year or toward the end of 2023. That could mean 50-degree FoV but with an even smaller projection.

Still, while the tech projections might show full vision, binocular AR as the way the future is mapped out, Grobman says that a more focused version is also unexpectedly gaining traction again. A demand for binocular displays has picked up over the past year.

“Single eye is actually making a comeback now,” Grobman explained. “As the manufacturer of the optical engine, we see varying approaches to the market. Some want something really slimmed down – even as small as a monocular engine, potentially with an even smaller field-of-view – there is that side of the market that wants the minimally viable product, say “AR Lite.” What Google Glass should’ve been.”

The biggest question, of course, is just when we’ll actually see true augmented reality glasses on the market – and under which brand. Lumus doesn’t make the eyewear, only the displays for it, and the company won’t be drawn on which companies it supplies. Still, Grobman would say that a pilot production line with partner Quanta is already running, and that the main line will begin operating in the next several months. Even that pilot line, though, has given the company something to demonstrate.

When, therefore, might we be able to buy a set ourselves? Again, Lumus doesn’t control that roadmap, and indeed the company argues that it’s not the pinch-point for the wearable form-factor.

“2024 is still possible with some of the companies we’re talking to, doing much more modest soft launches,” Grobman says. “But when we’re thinking of Tier 1, real consumer brands and real adoption, the timelines we’re working with… really, we’re not the bottleneck here at all. Really, it’s the process of getting the rest of the product in line, the software and the interface, that’s the bottleneck.”

“Theoretically, I could say the holiday season of 2023,” he suggested, for a mass-market launch with 1m+ sales expectations. “But that could easily slip through to early or mid-2024.”

Whenever it happens, you should probably set aside the same sort of lump sum as you’d spend on a smartphone today. Current AR products, like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap, command price tags in the several thousands, admittedly for what are developer-focused devices. Consumer versions should – and will need to be – more attainable.

“I think everyone’s goal was to keep it at smartphone pricing,” Grobman suggests. “A full, all-in-one system – whether it’s going to be a peripheral to a smartphone, or whether it’s going to be embedded – it’s going to be akin to the price of a smartphone.” In an age of $1k+ iPhones, of course, that isn’t quite the promise of tech affordability it once was.

Which of the contenders will use Lumus’ technology remains to be seen. The company has no shortage of boasts – “we are the industry benchmark” for image brightness, resolution, clarity, color uniformity, and field-of-view, Grobman insists – though it’s not the only player in the game. Meanwhile AR demands new content and experiences in order to sell itself: having display technology that makes for almost unremarkable eyeglass designs is only one small part of the battle.

You're reading Lumus’ New Smart Glasses Displays Are Ar For Everyone

These Lumus Displays Could Fix Hololens’ Big Problem

These Lumus displays could fix HoloLens’ big problem

The DK-50, like Lumus’ previous products, use a tiny micro-projector in the arm of the glasses, and a light-guide that runs across each lens. In this particular case, each eyepiece is running at 720p resolution, and since you have a display for each eye you can have 3D graphics, too.

That certainly adds to the realism. Looking around while wearing the DK-50 glasses, I could see a three-dimensional heart floating in mid-air and rotating; that changed to an animated solar system, and then a car engine, also in 3D.

Even in a bright demo hall, the graphics were clear. In a second demo, a 3D dinosaur animation, a virtual jungle was played over the room around me: by shifting focus, I could choose whether to watch the film or engage with people physically present.

Neither of the demonstrations left me confused that the virtual graphics were real, but that could change with the DK-50’s second trick. Atop the frame is a stereoscopic camera array and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), with an onboard Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running Android for markerless augmented reality.

Unlike many AR systems, which require some sort of special glyph or 2D barcode in order to orient the virtual graphics on top of the real world, the InfinityAR system Lumus is using do the same but by identifying elements of the surrounding environment.

Unfortunately, Lumus’ prototypes weren’t up and running with the AR system so I wasn’t able to test that out.

While the DK-50 will be sold as a development kit for would-be AR wearable manufacturers, it’s the Lumus displays that have plenty of potential for addressing common complaints in products like HoloLens.

NOW READ: Temper your HoloLens enthusiasm

That’s because of the field of view (FOV), or in other words the amount of your vision that the digital display covers. In the case of the displays in the DK-50, that’s 40 degrees: enough to occupy roughly the same sort of area as watching a big-screen TV from across the average room.

Importantly, though, it extends higher and lower in the field of vision than HoloLens’ 20 degree FOV displays did, something particularly noticeable – and intrusive into the AR experience – when digital objects suddenly clipped or disappeared as you turned or nodded your head slightly.

Lumus’ “optical engines” still aren’t enough to give you a fully digital view, but it’s significantly better than what I’ve seen from other head-up displays. The company says it’s working on 60-degree FOV versions that could arrive as early as this year, while 1080p displays are also on the roadmap.

In a second demonstration, another brand-new prototype – the DK-45, one of only three currently in existence, in fact – showed how Lumus is hoping to help slim the form-factor down until AR glasses can look like regular spectacles. The DK-50 isn’t going to be mistaken for that, and – to be fair – neither is this new, monocular model, but it’s definitely sleeker even than the DK-40 reference design I played with back in 2014.

Clearly you’re not going to get 3D, but you do get a sizable Android interface floating in your right eye. Right now there’s nothing much you can actually do with it – Lumus didn’t have any eyewear-specific apps loaded – but it was a huge improvement on workable display size compared to, say, Google’s Glass (which has a mere 15 degree FOV).

That’ll be targeted at enterprise users, somewhere AR has still had more success than among the general public, but as the quality of the displays – and the user experiences developers offer – improve, we could see a significant shift in that beginning this year.

Lumus’ New Smart Glasses Displays Are Ar For Everyone

Lumus’ new smart glasses displays are AR for everyone

Smart glasses are coming, and since augmented reality wearables need to be closer to designer sunglasses than they are to Google Glass, transparent displays need to raise their game. That’s just what smart eyewear display specialist Lumus is doing, bringing along its latest Sleek display prototype to CES 2023 this week to show how AR could have mass-market appeal.

The goal, unsurprisingly, is to put transparent displays into eyewear that wouldn’t look out of place racked next to traditional eyeglasses and sunglasses. For that Lumus’ latest consumer focused side-mounted optical engine has a much smaller footprint, and is less bulky too.

“One of the major improvements we’ve made, we’ve done a lot more about 2-axis expansion,” Ari Grobman, CEO of Lumus, explained to SlashGear exclusively ahead of the show. “It’s basically how the waveguide expands the image on one axis, but also while you expand the projection into the waveguide.”

The result is a smaller projection unit, but without necessarily compromising on what the wearer sees. This new Lumus Sleek design still delivers 720p resolution graphics in each eye, and with a 40-degree field-of-view. Grobman suggests even bigger improvements are just at hand, promising “a quantum leap in field-of-view” and form-factor in the second half of the year or toward the end of 2023. That could mean 50-degree FoV but with an even smaller projection.

Still, while the tech projections might show full vision, binocular AR as the way the future is mapped out, Grobman says that a more focused version is also unexpectedly gaining traction again. A demand for binocular displays has picked up over the past year.

“Single eye is actually making a comeback now,” Grobman explained. “As the manufacturer of the optical engine, we see varying approaches to the market. Some want something really slimmed down – even as small as a monocular engine, potentially with an even smaller field-of-view – there is that side of the market that wants the minimally viable product, say “AR Lite.” What Google Glass should’ve been.”

The biggest question, of course, is just when we’ll actually see true augmented reality glasses on the market – and under which brand. Lumus doesn’t make the eyewear, only the displays for it, and the company won’t be drawn on which companies it supplies. Still, Grobman would say that a pilot production line with partner Quanta is already running, and that the main line will begin operating in the next several months. Even that pilot line, though, has given the company something to demonstrate.

When, therefore, might we be able to buy a set ourselves? Again, Lumus doesn’t control that roadmap, and indeed the company argues that it’s not the pinch-point for the wearable form-factor.

“2024 is still possible with some of the companies we’re talking to, doing much more modest soft launches,” Grobman says. “But when we’re thinking of Tier 1, real consumer brands and real adoption, the timelines we’re working with… really, we’re not the bottleneck here at all. Really, it’s the process of getting the rest of the product in line, the software and the interface, that’s the bottleneck.”

“Theoretically, I could say the holiday season of 2023,” he suggested, for a mass-market launch with 1m+ sales expectations. “But that could easily slip through to early or mid-2024.”

Whenever it happens, you should probably set aside the same sort of lump sum as you’d spend on a smartphone today. Current AR products, like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap, command price tags in the several thousands, admittedly for what are developer-focused devices. Consumer versions should – and will need to be – more attainable.

“I think everyone’s goal was to keep it at smartphone pricing,” Grobman suggests. “A full, all-in-one system – whether it’s going to be a peripheral to a smartphone, or whether it’s going to be embedded – it’s going to be akin to the price of a smartphone.” In an age of $1k+ iPhones, of course, that isn’t quite the promise of tech affordability it once was.

Which of the contenders will use Lumus’ technology remains to be seen. The company has no shortage of boasts – “we are the industry benchmark” for image brightness, resolution, clarity, color uniformity, and field-of-view, Grobman insists – though it’s not the only player in the game. Meanwhile AR demands new content and experiences in order to sell itself: having display technology that makes for almost unremarkable eyeglass designs is only one small part of the battle.

Lumus’ New Smart Glasses Displays Are Ar For Everyone

Lumus’ new smart glasses displays are AR for everyone

Smart glasses are coming, and since augmented reality wearables need to be closer to designer sunglasses than they are to Google Glass, transparent displays need to raise their game. That’s just what smart eyewear display specialist Lumus is doing, bringing along its latest Sleek display prototype to CES 2023 this week to show how AR could have mass-market appeal.

The goal, unsurprisingly, is to put transparent displays into eyewear that wouldn’t look out of place racked next to traditional eyeglasses and sunglasses. For that Lumus’ latest consumer focused side-mounted optical engine has a much smaller footprint, and is less bulky too.

“One of the major improvements we’ve made, we’ve done a lot more about 2-axis expansion,” Ari Grobman, CEO of Lumus, explained to SlashGear exclusively ahead of the show. “It’s basically how the waveguide expands the image on one axis, but also while you expand the projection into the waveguide.”

The result is a smaller projection unit, but without necessarily compromising on what the wearer sees. This new Lumus Sleek design still delivers 720p resolution graphics in each eye, and with a 40-degree field-of-view. Grobman suggests even bigger improvements are just at hand, promising “a quantum leap in field-of-view” and form-factor in the second half of the year or toward the end of 2023. That could mean 50-degree FoV but with an even smaller projection.

Still, while the tech projections might show full vision, binocular AR as the way the future is mapped out, Grobman says that a more focused version is also unexpectedly gaining traction again. A demand for binocular displays has picked up over the past year.

“Single eye is actually making a comeback now,” Grobman explained. “As the manufacturer of the optical engine, we see varying approaches to the market. Some want something really slimmed down – even as small as a monocular engine, potentially with an even smaller field-of-view – there is that side of the market that wants the minimally viable product, say “AR Lite.” What Google Glass should’ve been.”

The biggest question, of course, is just when we’ll actually see true augmented reality glasses on the market – and under which brand. Lumus doesn’t make the eyewear, only the displays for it, and the company won’t be drawn on which companies it supplies. Still, Grobman would say that a pilot production line with partner Quanta is already running, and that the main line will begin operating in the next several months. Even that pilot line, though, has given the company something to demonstrate.

When, therefore, might we be able to buy a set ourselves? Again, Lumus doesn’t control that roadmap, and indeed the company argues that it’s not the pinch-point for the wearable form-factor.

“2024 is still possible with some of the companies we’re talking to, doing much more modest soft launches,” Grobman says. “But when we’re thinking of Tier 1, real consumer brands and real adoption, the timelines we’re working with… really, we’re not the bottleneck here at all. Really, it’s the process of getting the rest of the product in line, the software and the interface, that’s the bottleneck.”

“Theoretically, I could say the holiday season of 2023,” he suggested, for a mass-market launch with 1m+ sales expectations. “But that could easily slip through to early or mid-2024.”

Whenever it happens, you should probably set aside the same sort of lump sum as you’d spend on a smartphone today. Current AR products, like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap, command price tags in the several thousands, admittedly for what are developer-focused devices. Consumer versions should – and will need to be – more attainable.

“I think everyone’s goal was to keep it at smartphone pricing,” Grobman suggests. “A full, all-in-one system – whether it’s going to be a peripheral to a smartphone, or whether it’s going to be embedded – it’s going to be akin to the price of a smartphone.” In an age of $1k+ iPhones, of course, that isn’t quite the promise of tech affordability it once was.

Which of the contenders will use Lumus’ technology remains to be seen. The company has no shortage of boasts – “we are the industry benchmark” for image brightness, resolution, clarity, color uniformity, and field-of-view, Grobman insists – though it’s not the only player in the game. Meanwhile AR demands new content and experiences in order to sell itself: having display technology that makes for almost unremarkable eyeglass designs is only one small part of the battle.

Lumus’ New Smart Glasses Displays Are Ar For Everyone

Lumus’ new smart glasses displays are AR for everyone

Smart glasses are coming, and since augmented reality wearables need to be closer to designer sunglasses than they are to Google Glass, transparent displays need to raise their game. That’s just what smart eyewear display specialist Lumus is doing, bringing along its latest Sleek display prototype to CES 2023 this week to show how AR could have mass-market appeal.

The goal, unsurprisingly, is to put transparent displays into eyewear that wouldn’t look out of place racked next to traditional eyeglasses and sunglasses. For that Lumus’ latest consumer focused side-mounted optical engine has a much smaller footprint, and is less bulky too.

“One of the major improvements we’ve made, we’ve done a lot more about 2-axis expansion,” Ari Grobman, CEO of Lumus, explained to SlashGear exclusively ahead of the show. “It’s basically how the waveguide expands the image on one axis, but also while you expand the projection into the waveguide.”

The result is a smaller projection unit, but without necessarily compromising on what the wearer sees. This new Lumus Sleek design still delivers 720p resolution graphics in each eye, and with a 40-degree field-of-view. Grobman suggests even bigger improvements are just at hand, promising “a quantum leap in field-of-view” and form-factor in the second half of the year or toward the end of 2023. That could mean 50-degree FoV but with an even smaller projection.

Still, while the tech projections might show full vision, binocular AR as the way the future is mapped out, Grobman says that a more focused version is also unexpectedly gaining traction again. A demand for binocular displays has picked up over the past year.

“Single eye is actually making a comeback now,” Grobman explained. “As the manufacturer of the optical engine, we see varying approaches to the market. Some want something really slimmed down – even as small as a monocular engine, potentially with an even smaller field-of-view – there is that side of the market that wants the minimally viable product, say “AR Lite.” What Google Glass should’ve been.”

The biggest question, of course, is just when we’ll actually see true augmented reality glasses on the market – and under which brand. Lumus doesn’t make the eyewear, only the displays for it, and the company won’t be drawn on which companies it supplies. Still, Grobman would say that a pilot production line with partner Quanta is already running, and that the main line will begin operating in the next several months. Even that pilot line, though, has given the company something to demonstrate.

When, therefore, might we be able to buy a set ourselves? Again, Lumus doesn’t control that roadmap, and indeed the company argues that it’s not the pinch-point for the wearable form-factor.

“2024 is still possible with some of the companies we’re talking to, doing much more modest soft launches,” Grobman says. “But when we’re thinking of Tier 1, real consumer brands and real adoption, the timelines we’re working with… really, we’re not the bottleneck here at all. Really, it’s the process of getting the rest of the product in line, the software and the interface, that’s the bottleneck.”

“Theoretically, I could say the holiday season of 2023,” he suggested, for a mass-market launch with 1m+ sales expectations. “But that could easily slip through to early or mid-2024.”

Whenever it happens, you should probably set aside the same sort of lump sum as you’d spend on a smartphone today. Current AR products, like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap, command price tags in the several thousands, admittedly for what are developer-focused devices. Consumer versions should – and will need to be – more attainable.

“I think everyone’s goal was to keep it at smartphone pricing,” Grobman suggests. “A full, all-in-one system – whether it’s going to be a peripheral to a smartphone, or whether it’s going to be embedded – it’s going to be akin to the price of a smartphone.” In an age of $1k+ iPhones, of course, that isn’t quite the promise of tech affordability it once was.

Which of the contenders will use Lumus’ technology remains to be seen. The company has no shortage of boasts – “we are the industry benchmark” for image brightness, resolution, clarity, color uniformity, and field-of-view, Grobman insists – though it’s not the only player in the game. Meanwhile AR demands new content and experiences in order to sell itself: having display technology that makes for almost unremarkable eyeglass designs is only one small part of the battle.

Lumus’ New Smart Glasses Displays Are Ar For Everyone

Lumus’ new smart glasses displays are AR for everyone

Smart glasses are coming, and since augmented reality wearables need to be closer to designer sunglasses than they are to Google Glass, transparent displays need to raise their game. That’s just what smart eyewear display specialist Lumus is doing, bringing along its latest Sleek display prototype to CES 2023 this week to show how AR could have mass-market appeal.

The goal, unsurprisingly, is to put transparent displays into eyewear that wouldn’t look out of place racked next to traditional eyeglasses and sunglasses. For that Lumus’ latest consumer focused side-mounted optical engine has a much smaller footprint, and is less bulky too.

“One of the major improvements we’ve made, we’ve done a lot more about 2-axis expansion,” Ari Grobman, CEO of Lumus, explained to SlashGear exclusively ahead of the show. “It’s basically how the waveguide expands the image on one axis, but also while you expand the projection into the waveguide.”

The result is a smaller projection unit, but without necessarily compromising on what the wearer sees. This new Lumus Sleek design still delivers 720p resolution graphics in each eye, and with a 40-degree field-of-view. Grobman suggests even bigger improvements are just at hand, promising “a quantum leap in field-of-view” and form-factor in the second half of the year or toward the end of 2023. That could mean 50-degree FoV but with an even smaller projection.

Still, while the tech projections might show full vision, binocular AR as the way the future is mapped out, Grobman says that a more focused version is also unexpectedly gaining traction again. A demand for binocular displays has picked up over the past year.

“Single eye is actually making a comeback now,” Grobman explained. “As the manufacturer of the optical engine, we see varying approaches to the market. Some want something really slimmed down – even as small as a monocular engine, potentially with an even smaller field-of-view – there is that side of the market that wants the minimally viable product, say “AR Lite.” What Google Glass should’ve been.”

The biggest question, of course, is just when we’ll actually see true augmented reality glasses on the market – and under which brand. Lumus doesn’t make the eyewear, only the displays for it, and the company won’t be drawn on which companies it supplies. Still, Grobman would say that a pilot production line with partner Quanta is already running, and that the main line will begin operating in the next several months. Even that pilot line, though, has given the company something to demonstrate.

When, therefore, might we be able to buy a set ourselves? Again, Lumus doesn’t control that roadmap, and indeed the company argues that it’s not the pinch-point for the wearable form-factor.

“2024 is still possible with some of the companies we’re talking to, doing much more modest soft launches,” Grobman says. “But when we’re thinking of Tier 1, real consumer brands and real adoption, the timelines we’re working with… really, we’re not the bottleneck here at all. Really, it’s the process of getting the rest of the product in line, the software and the interface, that’s the bottleneck.”

“Theoretically, I could say the holiday season of 2023,” he suggested, for a mass-market launch with 1m+ sales expectations. “But that could easily slip through to early or mid-2024.”

Whenever it happens, you should probably set aside the same sort of lump sum as you’d spend on a smartphone today. Current AR products, like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap, command price tags in the several thousands, admittedly for what are developer-focused devices. Consumer versions should – and will need to be – more attainable.

“I think everyone’s goal was to keep it at smartphone pricing,” Grobman suggests. “A full, all-in-one system – whether it’s going to be a peripheral to a smartphone, or whether it’s going to be embedded – it’s going to be akin to the price of a smartphone.” In an age of $1k+ iPhones, of course, that isn’t quite the promise of tech affordability it once was.

Which of the contenders will use Lumus’ technology remains to be seen. The company has no shortage of boasts – “we are the industry benchmark” for image brightness, resolution, clarity, color uniformity, and field-of-view, Grobman insists – though it’s not the only player in the game. Meanwhile AR demands new content and experiences in order to sell itself: having display technology that makes for almost unremarkable eyeglass designs is only one small part of the battle.

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