Jade Bird Display’s microLEDs Power Many AR Glasses

JBD is a key supplier of RGB microLED projection engines for AR glasses. At DisplayWeek 2024, we learned of some development efforts underway at the company.

Hi, Chris Chinnock for Insight Media at DisplayWeek 24. I’m in the JBD, the Jade Bird Display booth. They are probably one of the leaders in microLEDs at this point. In particular, they’re focused on supplying what they call their Hummingbird display module for AR glasses. This module is about 0.4 cubic cm sized device. It’s very small and it uses 3 0.17-inch RGB microLED displays. Those are combined with an X Cube combiner, very similar to what’s used in LCD projectors. This is very tiny and projects into a waveguide of some sort to produce a full color image.

Now they said they’ve got about 25 to 35 customers right now worldwide, but right now, China is doing much better in terms of sales and sell through than are some of the North American markets and other world markets.

What’s going to happen in terms of development efforts? ┬áThe 0.4 cubic centimeter device is going to shrink to about 0.3 cubic centimeters by the end of the year and they’re also going to increase some of the performance of it. Right now, they’re getting about three lumens out of that little engine. Three lumens doesn’t sound like much but it’s enough for indoor applications. Let’s say it’s not going to be enough for outdoor applications. It’s going to go to four lumens by Q4 this year. Right now, they’re able to get from red about 1 million nits, green is 8 million nits, and blue is 1.5 million nits. That’s using a four-micron pixel pitch. In development is a monolithic full color microLED display.

The current device, as I said, uses three separate panels. The monolithic full color is basically stacking three different Epi layers on top of each other. So, red stacked on top of green on top of blue or I’m not sure exactly what the configuration is going to be. Those are going to be on a five-micron pixel pitch so the actual LEDs themselves, the microLEDs, are about 2.5 microns or so. It’s going to be RGB so stacking GaN blue and green on top of AlInGaP red in a different material system is going to be very challenging from thermal coefficient of expansion, from defects, and from registration purposes. All that stuff is a really challenging task. They say they’re shipping engineering samples right now that can get about 300 to 400,000 nits of white light out but they hope they can get that up to perhaps a million nits when they’ve completed development. While they are shipping engineering samples right now, they’re still not ready to release a product.

Like I said, they’re showing a number of different AR glasses from different customers, and they expect to add another 25 to 35 more customers in the next 12 months so. They are clearly one of the leading suppliers for AR glasses for the indoor market.

They were also showing a piece of equipment for helping their customers to align and calibrate their little projectors in the waveguide. This is especially important for binocular displays. So for binocular solutions you’ve got two projectors going into the waveguides for each eye. One you have to make sure those microLEDs are aligned so there’s no mismatch – that it’s pixel accurate. But there’s also going to be variations in the luminance, the uniformity, and the color for each eye because of how the light is transmitted in the waveguides. The waveguides are not identical nor are the displays for that matter so being able to optimize how that image is aligned and calibrated is really important for the industry. They’ve developed a machine to do that and this is something that they are now trying to sell to their customers. I think it’s a really good idea. It is helpful for the industry but it’s going to be an expensive machine to start, perhaps up to a million dollars. So, it becomes a business decision based on the volume of the glasses that you’re making whether that’s a justifiable investment. On the other hand, it’s a really good way to get to the quality that you need because you’re going to have to get that quality through some other means regardless. So, kind of a nice innovation in the industry but we’ll just see how well it’s going to be adapted. That’s it. Chris Chinnock for Insight Media.

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