Plessey and WaveOptics Announce Strategic Partnership Using MicroLED Display Technology for Smart Glasses

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Plessey, an embedded technologies developer at the forefront of microLED technology for the augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) display market, announced today at Photonics West its partnership with WaveOptics, the leading designer and manufacturer of diffractive waveguides.

This industry-leading partnership will focus on the creation of a new optical module, designed specifically for the next generation of smart glasses. The module will incorporate Plessey's high brightness microLED, native green full HD display along with WaveOptics' Katana waveguide technology and projector design. Critically, this module will be the smallest and lowest mass AR display module available on the market. The full HD microLED display from Plessey is the result of its previously announced partnership with Compound Photonics, to combine Plessey's GaN/Si microLED display technology with Compound Photonics' industry leading digital low latency backplane and high performance NOVA display driver architecture.

The next generation of AR and MR systems depends on a technological leap in the performance of the optical module. Advances in image quality, brightness, resolution, and efficient power consumption are sought after in order to make these new AR and MR systems a compelling practical and visual experience. The collaboration between Plessey and WaveOptics delivers the necessary innovation by bringing together Plessey's award winning GaN/Si microLED display technology and WaveOptics new generation waveguide technology and projector design.

The substantial reduction in size and power requirements in this module enables enhanced features such as wireless transceivers for true, untethered AR applications, which are key for technology and mobile companies looking to launch smart glasses as a mobile accessory.

"This partnership will create a new product opportunity for companies building AR wearables," commented David Hayes, CEO WaveOptics. "For the first time, customers will be able to buy the lightest, ultra-low power module which combines the unique combination of WaveOptics and Plessey technologies. This is a crucial development to enable this technology to reach the consumer market in 2020."

Mike Lee, the president of corporate and business development at Plessey said, "Our partnership with WaveOptics is a significant endorsement of Plessey's GaN-on-Silicon microLED approach. Our microLED displays are recognised as being at the forefront in delivering the high-performance display panels demanded by AR and MR devices."

AR headsets that allow the user to seamlessly transition between the bright outdoors to darker indoor environments require a display technology that can deliver both, very high brightness and low power consumption for long battery life. Plessey's displays with WaveOptics technology can rise to the challenge of this demanding requirement.

Notes to Editors

WaveOptics unveiled its latest waveguide, Katana, at Photonics West 2020. Katana is the industry's thinnest and lightest waveguide, which expands the possibilities of AR wearable design for consumer technology companies, bringing AR wearables to the mass market.

Smaller and more efficient projectors are essential for the improvement in smart glasses and other AR wearables. The use of microLED panels offer the potential of significant reductions in size and power consumption of AR projectors compared to photo-reflective panels such as LCoS and DMD. However, the realisation of these benefits can only be unlocked with a waveguide and projector custom designed to match with the optical and electrical characteristics of microLED panels. WaveOptics has the technical capabilities to design and fabricate a fully integrated AR display module making best use of the Plessey microLED characteristics.

About Plessey

Plessey is an award-winning provider of full-field emissive microLED displays that combine very high-density RGB pixel arrays with high-performance CMOS backplanes to produce very high-brightness, low-power and high-frame-rate image sources for head-mounted displays (HMDs), and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) systems. Plessey operates leading-edge 150mm and 200mm wafer processing facilities to undertake design, test and assembly of LED products, and a comprehensive suite of photonic characterization and applications laboratories. For more information, visit Plessey's website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

About WaveOptics

WaveOptics unlocks the possibilities of augmented reality (AR) for the mass market. Our waveguides and projectors are the key components in AR wearable devices and smart glasses, which allow digital images to be overlaid onto the real world. Founded in 2014, WaveOptics has a highly experienced team, with a breadth of skills and experience, who are driven and determined to make AR the next must-have technology. Our patented diffractive waveguide technology is readily customisable to meet the demands of any customer. Our technology was designed from the outset with mass manufacturing in mind, enabling efficient processes at low cost.

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SOURCE WaveOptics; Plessey