The advantages of flexible liquid crystal optics for AR and VR devices

In this blog we look at four simple advantages of flexible liquid crystal optics for AR and VR.

Ross Hookway, Marketing Executive

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Mobile World Congress 2023 proved that AR and VR devices are becoming smaller, more powerful, and less cumbersome. New materials and technologies are powering these changes, but many devices still rely on glass optics.

Our flexible liquid crystal technology eliminates this reliance and brings advanced design and use-case possibilities to devices.

In this blog we look at four simple advantages of flexible liquid crystal optics for AR and VR.

Reduced weight

Removing glass brings an immediate benefit: reduced weight.
Glass-based liquid crystal optics are well established, but the weight and thickness of glass are an issue, because—in many cases—each optical module comprises multiple liquid crystal cells.

Often, liquid crystal cells are stacked together to either focus light or to increase lens power. Nearly all the weight and volume added by glass cells comes from the glass itself. Flexible liquid crystal optics, at less than 100 microns thick and stackable, provide equal optical performance without the weight.

Find out about the importance of weight reduction for VR headsets

Improved designs and new form factors

A design close to ‘traditional’ glasses is the current focus of manufacturers as component sizes shrink and consumers look for something lightweight and less conspicuous. Flexible liquid crystal optics make this a reality.

Flexible liquid crystal optics’ reduced weight and suitability for biaxial curvature enable form factors for any use case. For example, a wide visor would allow for a much greater field of view and a vastly different design style and experience. Flexible liquid crystal optics can also be built into safety devices such as motorcycle or welding helmets, providing AR functionality in addition to protection.

See our view on the future of AR glasses

Enhanced features: Ambient dimming, Tunable lenses

As we discussed in a previous blog, dimming is necessary for AR devices in high-contrast environments, such as outdoors in sunlight – it enhances the visibility of virtual objects.

With tunable lenses, focal distance is rapidly switched, bringing virtual objects and the environment into focus. This removes the uncomfortable effects of virtual distance and expected distance of an object being different.  This is key for long term device wear, as it greatly improves user experience by increasing the visual ‘comfort zone’.

Learn about our tunable lens or ambient dimming technology

Lower manufacturing and environmental costs

Flexible liquid crystal optics are manufactured using TAC (Triacetyl cellulose), a renewable bioplastic that is highly recyclable and biodegradable.

Our manufacturing process uses far lower temperatures than glass optics (under 100°C). It also repurposes existing flat panel display production lines, removing the need for new equipment.

Read more about our platform and sustainable manufacturing

A definite advantage

Flexible liquid crystal optics bring these features at virtually no extra weight cost, enabling effective, comfortable VR and AR regardless of environment, form factor or use case.

If you’d like to know more about our technology, contact us at info@flexenable.com