AR Ambient Dimming

Ultra-light and ultra-thin dimming cells for AR optics

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Solid virtual objects in all environments

For AR to be effective, the virtual and the real must blend as closely as possible, even when there are major changes in brightness of the real world. With outdoor luminance of real world objects on a sunny day being 100X higher than indoors, the virtual projected objects can appear washed out unless the luminance of the real world is controlled. Ambient dimming controls the amount of real-world light that enters the eye, and is a feature that’s set to become standard for see-through AR devices.

FlexEnable’s liquid crystal (LC) optical films switch at video rate and can provide dimming capabilities for AR devices from global down to pixel-level (local dimming) when integrated with our OTFT technology. This enables virtual objects to be clearly visible and appear solid even as external lighting conditions change.

Continuously tunable, and with a dynamic range that can be specified by design, the ambient dimming liquid crystal cells are around 100 microns thick, adding almost no weight and volume to devices. The final module can be biaxially formed to follow the shape of visors, fixed optics and other surfaces of complex curvature.

Benefits

  • Colour neutral, rapid switching liquid crystal cells
  • Dynamic range tunable by design with dark states as low as 1% and clear states as high as 80%
  • Normally clear and normally dark options
  • Lightweight and ultra-thin (100 micron) liquid crystal cells
  • Polariser free-construction
  • Can provide global or pixelated (local) dimming
  • Biaxial curvature – easily integrated into optics and visors
  • Can be combined with our tunable lens technology
  • Low power consumption

The technology

FlexEnable has developed a complete low-temperature manufacturing process for liquid crystal optics on lightweight ultra-thin flexible substrates. Our liquid crystal films are built on TAC film, a bioplastic with optical properties equivalent to glass, including low birefringence and high transmission. TAC retains these properties even after thermoforming to biaxial curves, making it an ideal material for the complex curvatures of AR optics.

Biaxially-formed pixelated ambient dimming cell stack