VueReal Describes microLED – LCOS Solution for AR

VueReal has developed a concept for AR Headsets that replaces a conventional LED illuminator for an LCOS display with a pixelated microLED imager/illuminator. This opens up three to four new modes of operation.

 

Chris Chinnock here for Insight Media. It is DisplayWeek 2024. I just had a chance to talk with VueReal who makes a printing solution suitable for microLEDs but other devices as well. Certainly, the near-term focus is on printing microLEDs, but one of the more interesting applications they’re showing is a new design for AR applications, AR or VR actually. The idea here is to use a traditional LCOS display but instead of using a standard LED Illuminator they use a microLED Illuminator. It’s essentially a pixelated low-resolution display that’s physically the same size as the LCOS panel to match etendue for optical efficiency. This becomes the illuminator for the LCOS display which would then go into a traditional waveguide or other optical system for the VR or AR headset.

They said they can actually run this in three different modes. One is a traditional Illuminator but now since it’s a basically a pixelated Illuminator, you can do zone dimming to create an HDR display. In a sense it’s kind of two levels of modulation here. This should produce a much brighter LCOS display image as well as a higher contrast one. An HDR image should be possible with this concept so that’s obviously straightforward.

They can also run this in a kind of a low-power mode. In which case the LED Illuminator becomes the display. You trade off the lower resolution now but now the LCOS runs almost in a static mode or a low refresh rate mode. You can now run this thing down to a single Hertz operation for very low power consumption. In the first mode, they’re also running a field sequential color so that requires faster update rates for the LCOS and the backlight, but the refresh rate is going to be limited mainly by the LCOS refresh rate.

The third mode is what they kind call kind of, I’m not sure what they officially call it, but I would call it a base resolution plus an enhancement layer. You kind of display two fields. One is the low-resolution image and the second is the details or the enhancement layer, if you will. This is very much a concept that’s being used in multiple encoding schemes today so they just apply this to a display solution, which is actually kind of kind of clever.

I actually thought of a fourth application which they haven’t described but it should also be possible. That is to make the microLED Illuminator larger than the size of the LCOS panel, so the central portion of that Illuminator now corresponds to the optical configurations that they just described with those three modes. But now, you’ve got this larger area all around it which could potentially be captured with another lens to provide the peripheral view and a wider field of view display.

 

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