The article was originally published on [www.display-central.com]
Innovative Technology from TTP delivers major advantages over existing head mounted Augmented Reality systems including 3D.
For the first time, new augmented reality technology from Cambridge-based TTP makes it possible to create head-mounted displays that look like conventional glasses and use transparent, curved lenses that do not obstruct the wearer’s field of view. And using simple low-power, miniature projector optics mounted in the temple arms, there is no need for bulky and unaesthetic frames that characterise the initial crop of early augmented reality (AR) head-up displays and spectacles. TTP has also invented a very high speed switchable fast focus lens technology that can be used to create a true 3D experience.
TTP has already demonstrated its patented technology in prototype glasses and the innovative grating optics embedded in the lens could be used for a wide range of optical designs and manufactured at low cost using conventional casting or injection moulding processes. While TTP believes its new technology offers hands-free augmented reality for leisure and consumer applications such as ski goggles, running or cycling glasses and interactive gaming, it is also exploring uses in military, emergency services, logistics and manufacturing environments.
“Current head-mounted AR technologies have a number of drawbacks including flat or darkened lenses, large cumbersome frames and partially or totally obscured fields of view,” said Dr Roger Clarke at TTP, one of Europe’s leading independent technology and product development companies. “Our new technology overcomes all of these issues using simple LED based optics and completely transparent, curved lenses that opens up a wide range of exciting applications for the emerging AR market.”
The TTP technology works by projecting light at an angle of approximately 45° towards the lens that contains an embedded grating structure to redirect the light into the eye, as well as performing a number of other optical functions such as astigmatic compensation. The grating structure can be injection moulded, cast or embossed and the structure is then coated with a slightly reflective neutral layer or a bandpass or notched colour filter depending on the application. The structure is then sandwiched in the lens by the same refractive index material on the other side so there is no change to through-vision in the lens.
The field of view for the AR display can be varied, while TTP’s very high speed Switchable Fast Focus lens technology (SwiFT) can switch the focal length of the lens at up to 1kHz so that different multiple focal plans in a scene can be displayed simultaneously, resulting in a true 3D experience.
TTP is further developing its technology and plans to licence it to third-parties for a range of applications. ABI Research estimates that the market size of mobile AR will grow to $3 billion by 2016.
TTP Group plc is Europe’s leading independent technology and product development company. It combines the strengths of science, engineering and business enterprise to develop new technologies, new products, and new businesses. It is the holding company for The Technology Partnership plc, TTP Labtech Ltd, TTP Venture Managers Ltd, Melbourn Science Park Ltd, and Tonejet Ltd. The company, established in 1987, is headquartered on Melbourn Science Park (near Cambridge, UK) and currently employs over 300 people in its businesses, of whom the majority are scientists and engineers.
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