“Advanced” pancake optics could introduce ultra-compact and stylish VR glasses: virtual reality time

Screen manufacturer Kopin has reported a breakthrough in ultra-compact and stylish VR glasses

Kopin Corporation has announced a major breakthrough in optics that could lead to super compact, lightweight and stylish virtual reality glasses.

Kopin Corporation is one of the world’s leading developers and suppliers of high-resolution microdisplays, as well as display subsets for business, defense, consumer and medical products.

Icsptica of pancakes

Last week, the company announced a breakthrough in the development of its completely innovative plastic pancake optics for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) applications.

Pancake optics represent a significant breakthrough in lens development and will be the first pancake optics in the world to have top-notch performance. Kopin Corporation has applied for three patents on the design, manufacturing process and use of the system for all plastic pancake optics and expects additional patent filings to be filed soon.

Virtual reality headsets have made tremendous strides in the last five years. The tracking system, for example, has moved to the headphone housing, now the screens have very high resolutions, as the annoying grid of pixels that had already disappeared has virtually disappeared and there is no longer any need for a player.

Despite these advances, some things like form factor and weight have not changed much. VR headsets are still considerably bulky and heavy as they were five years ago, which has inhibited their market potential.

The lack of progress in this area is largely explained by the display technology and optics that have not changed much in recent years. Current VR headsets still consist of a large screen in front of which a thick, heavy Fresnel lens is mounted at a good distance. This construction results in a larger form factor and contributes greatly to the heavy weights of most VR headsets that weigh more than 400 grams.

Kopin’s pancake lenses are all-plastic and according to the company, now allow for more compact virtual reality headset designs. The lenses are based on polarization and reflect light between two optical elements. The main advantage of pancake lenses is that they work easily with coin-sized microdisplays and can also be mounted closer to the screen, as they can diffuse light especially well. These two properties make it possible for these screens to be used to make more compact and lightweight virtual reality headsets or glasses. They represent an important milestone on the path to the development of more compact virtual reality.

The working mechanism of Pancake optics is to reflect light back and forth within the optical system. To properly reflect light and avoid image artifacts, it is necessary to accurately control the polarization state of light. However, plastic materials usually have a large birefringence that interferes with the polarization state. To date, an all-plastic lens system has not been able to overcome the perturbation of the polarization state.

Kopin’s advanced lenses are made with two-element all-plastic pancake optics that have virtually no birefringence. The core of the technology is a patented aspherical optical lens design capable of achieving high image performance and processing methods to preserve the insignificant birefringence of a special plastic material that has unique characteristics. This resulted in a Pancake optical system that has better image quality, a much smaller, lighter size, and a lower cost than anything previously arranged. Kopin’s first plastic Pancake optics is called P95 and has been optimized for Kopin’s 1.3 ”2.6K x 2.6K organic light emitting diode (OLED) microdisplay (with 2560 x 2560 resolution ) and with a field of view of 95 degrees. The center is capable of containing an extremely sharp image with excellent modular transfer function. Kopin says it maintains sharpness to the limit of the field of view, which is a critical and hard-to-achieve feature for virtual reality applications.

Both Kopin and Panasonic have already unveiled the corresponding pancake optical designs and Facebook’s XR research director Michael Abrash indicated in 2018 that pancake lenses could replace Fresnel systems currently deployed in VR hardware in the future. .

Kopin’s new pancake lens is known as P95 and is optimized for Kopin’s 1.3-inch OLED reproductions with a resolution of 2,560 by 2,560 pixels. According to Kopin, a pancake lens weighs 15 grams and is 16 millimeters thick. Kopin wants to sell the product separately or in a package with microdisplays and has already found a design partner.

According to Kopin, pancake optics provide much higher magnified image quality within a much thinner form factor, especially for products with field of view (FOV) ranging from 50 to 100 degrees. Earlier pancake lenses required at least one spherical glass lens to avoid image artifacts resulting from the birefringence of the plastic material, but the glass lens used also added weight and cost to the lens system.

However, Kopin’s new all-plastic Pancake optics are all aspherical lenses and are made entirely of plastic that further reduces thickness, weight and manufacturing costs, while improving image quality.

It remains to be seen how Kopin’s pancake optics will work in terms of image quality and field of view. One of the main problems when using microdisplays in virtual reality headsets is their relatively narrow field of view. According to Kopin, the field of view is 95 degrees, but it is unclear whether this value is the vertical field of view or the horizontal field of view. The image section corresponds to a 250-inch screen at a distance of three meters.

If the actual field of view were to fall below the industry standard of 90 to 100 degrees diagonally, Kopin’s technology could be of interest to video glasses. Panasonic’s first prototype pancakes had a field of view of only 70 degrees. This surprisingly reduced form factor was also achieved by outsourcing the tracking system, processing unit, and battery.

https://virtualrealitytimes.com/2021/08/01/breakthrough-pancake-optics-could-usher-in-ultra-compact-and-stylish-vr-glasses/Sam OchanjiHardwareTechnologyScreen manufacturer Kopin has reported a major breakthrough in ultra-compact and stylish VR glasses Kopin Corporation has announced a major breakthrough in optics that could lead to super-compact, lightweight and stylish virtual reality glasses. Kopin Corporation is one of the world’s leading developers and suppliers of high-resolution microdisplays and display subsets …

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