FlexEnable launches flexible active optics evaluation kits for AR and VR

Ultra-thin and light active optics bring game-changing optical performance to AR/VR and allow significantly smaller, lighter and curved devices.

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Cambridge (UK), 29 January 2024 – FlexEnable, the leader in the development and production of flexible organic electronics for active optics and displays, today announces the launch of optical evaluation kits for AR and VR devices. The kits include ambient dimming and tunable lens film modules made using FlexEnable’s flexible liquid crystal (LC) technology. These uniquely thin and light active optics bring game-changing optical performance to AR/VR and allow significantly smaller, lighter and curved devices — key factors in achieving the visual and physical comfort necessary for all-day wearability and sustained adoption. The evaluation kits are initially available to selected strategic partners who wish to evaluate FlexEnable’s breakthrough technology for integration into new products.

Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable, said: “Advancements in AR/VR technologies must simultaneously increase visual comfort and immersion, whilst allowing the devices to become lighter and smaller. Our uniquely thin and lightweight optical modules can modulate and focus light, ensuring virtual objects in AR appear solid and with high contrast and allowing users to comfortably focus on virtual objects at different distances. For strategic OEM/brand partners we offer customisable solutions that can be integrated into new products, along with a rapid route to production scale-up through our existing manufacturing partners.”

Ambient dimming film module

The ambient dimmer module features a 50mm diameter aperture that switches in ~10 milliseconds, with a thickness of just 200 microns and a cell mass of less than one gram. It provides global dimming of unpolarised light for AR devices, and when integrated with FlexEnable’s OTFT technology enables pixel-level dimming (spatial dimming). This allows virtual objects to be clearly visible and appear solid even as external lighting conditions change.

Tunable lens module

The tunable lens module has a 30mm diameter with a continuously tunable lens power of 0 to 1 dioptres, a cell thickness of 100-200 microns, and a mass of a fraction of a gram. It can actively adjust focus of visible light, bringing perceived and actual image depth together consistently, by compensating for focal differences between the virtual and the real. FlexEnable’s liquid crystal lenses can be stacked to increase focal power or combined with other flexible LC optical functions to provide additional features such as a dimmable lens.

The active optical films can also be biaxially curved to follow the 3D contours of existing surfaces such as headset visors and fixed lenses, further reducing device volume and weight.

FlexEnable will be exhibiting at SPIE AR VR MR in San Francisco on 30-31 January 2024. The company will be showcasing its technology at booth 6401.

About FlexEnable

With around 600 patents and more than 1000 engineering years in the development of organic materials and manufacturing processes, FlexEnable is the worldwide leader in flexible organic electronics. The company’s processes and solutions have been developed for use on existing flat panel display lines, leveraging existing assets and supply chains. Applications for FlexEnable’s technology include 3D formable active Liquid Crystal Cells for AR/VR optics, automotive smart windows, switchable ePrivacy displays, and flexible OLCD displays for consumer electronics and automotive. FlexEnable supplies FlexiOM™ materials to licensed display manufacturing partners and works directly with OEM and Tier 1 companies on developing next generation products, from prototyping to volume production. For more information please contact pr@flexenable.com.