VividQ teams up with iView to bring holography to the consumer
VividQ has accelerated the reach of its holographic software thanks to a partnership with China-based optical modules manufacturer iView – meaning consumers can expect next-generation displays on consumer electronics products to become viable next year.
Shenzhen-based iView offers affordable smart devices, laptops, and tablets for consumers and businesses: as an OEM it makes products which are then rebranded by global corporations for sale to the consumer. The deal means computer-generated holography – projecting 3D images with natural depth of field – will become normalised in various settings, including on legacy smartphones.
Darran Milne, co-founder and CEO of VividQ, said: “At VividQ, we are powering the display revolution with computer-generated holography. By combining our expertise with iView’s products, we can offer one of the most innovative display solutions to manufacturers of AR devices.
“We sell to iView, and iView will build on our IP and sell the products to their customers. iView is behind a lot of consumer devices in the marketplace, especially in the augmented reality [AR] space. We are acting as the IP and software provider to iView, who are a big player in the design and manufacture of optical systems, including optical display systems, including AR wearables.”
VividQ launched in 2017 with expertise from the University of Cambridge photonics department: it has received £17m funding to date, including £11m raised in June. The company has a headcount of 38 (with four more on the way in), with 34 at Castle Park, and four in the commercial and marketing team base in London. VividQ has already worked with Arm and others, including Compound Photonics and Himax Technologies, but the iView partnership announced at last week’s China International Optoelectronic Expo in Shenzhen goes further.
At the launch event, iView showcased its latest projection technologies for consumer and office projectors. One of the show’s highlights was the demonstration of the results of the joint development between iView and VividQ – innovative optical module designs for AR displays in automotive and wearable applications, powered by VividQ’s software for computer-generated holography.
Computer-generated holography is a display technology that projects actual 3D images with true depth of field to the user, making AR devices more natural and immersive. It changes the way we interact with virtual content and personal devices, replacing the limited capabilities of today’s AR displays. The technology is also more compact and ergonomic. Holographic HUDs (head-up displays) for cars show brighter, more precise information to drivers, while holographic wearable AR devices, such as smart glasses and headsets, provide enhanced visual experiences and interaction for gaming, industrial, and medical applications.
Steve Yeung, CEO of iView, said: “We believe that computer-generated holography is the ultimate solution for overlaying virtual content onto the real world. Other AR display technologies result in a single focus plane causing visual fatigue and confusion in the viewers.
“Holographic AR wearables are the holy grail and have the potential to replace our mobile phones one day. This collaboration brings about a major technological advancement to make it happen.”
iView, which also operates out of Hong Kong, is a trademark owned by California-based Wiltronic Corporation. It was founded in 2002 and ‘strategically’ locates its R&D operation centre in Shenzhen. It has become a leading advocate of lifi, which is similar to wifi in that both use radio waves for data transmission over the electromagnetic spectrum, only lifi exploits a completely different part of that spectrum.
This newest form of wireless communication broadens the horizon by using light to transmit data between devices. Lifi will make use of visible light, ultraviolet and infrared, making it ideal for areas susceptible to electromagnetic interference. Dimmed below human visibility, it will be designed to emit enough light to carry data and and yield a higher bandwidth. Lifi is being adopted because wifi is close to its full capacity, while lifi poses no limitations. It is larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum by 10,000 times, yet expected to be 10 times cheaper once it rolls out.
VividQ will start sharing its technology with iView next year.
“We are pre-product launch,” says Darran, “so we’re at the point of creating our first prototype, but we are expecting $10-15m of revenue from this sector.”
That revenue will really kick in once holography is added into iView’s products, which could be a year or two due to the glacial pace of regulatory approval – particularly for AR glasses which, as Google found out with its trial, have all sorts of issues to do with privacy and consumer ethics.
Aleksandra M Pedraszewska, co-founder and COO of VividQ, says: “As you might have seen, Ray-Ban and Facebook have recently announced the first-generation smart glasses which include high-res cameras for data capture and speakers. However, they lack any augmented reality display for now. Building holographic displays for AR smart glasses is one of the major objectives of the iView and VividQ partnership.”
It’ll be worth it – the AR market was valued at $14.7bn in 2020 and is projected to reach $88.4bn by 2026.
The hard work is done. VividQ’s extensive R&D has led to cutting-edge developments that achieve the highest image quality and lowest power requirements in real-time computer-generated holography. Soon consumers, both eager and sceptical, will find out what this next-generation technology will mean in terms of daily use in cars – the windscreen becomes the display – glasses, phones, laptops and tablets. The implications for satellite navigation, games, education, sports, travel, tourism and film are huge.
For the first time humanity will be mixing the experience of what we see in front of our eyes with unprecedented new layers of information and stimulation – with VividQ’s IP embedded in the mix.