Chinese star turns to Cambridge’s VividQ to propel AR devices

A Cambridge-China alliance is set to bring transformative holographic display technology to Augmented Reality devices in a head-spinning phase of development.

Holographic software provider VividQ and optical modules manufacturer iView – anchored in Hong Kong and China – have already developed an innovative display solution for next-generation devices using computer-generated holography.

Holography is a leading display technology for compact AR devices, projecting 3D images with natural depth of field.

This joint development targets manufacturers of AR devices such as automotive Head-Up Displays (HUDs) and headsets for gaming, industrial and medical applications.

The collaboration was announced at China International Optoelectronic Expo (CIOE) 2021 – a leading platform for worldwide optoelectronic industry, hosted in Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Highlight of the show is the demonstration of the results of the joint development between iView and VividQ – notably the innovative optical module designs for AR displays in automotive and wearable applications, powered by VividQ’s software for Computer-Generated Holography.

Computer-Generated Holography is a leading display technology that projects actual 3D images with true depth of field to the user, making AR devices more natural and immersive. 

It changes the way we interact with virtual content and personal devices, replacing today’s AR displays which have limited capabilities. For example, holographic HUDs for cars show brighter, more precise information to drivers, while holographic wearable AR devices, such as smartglasses and headsets, provide enhanced visual experiences and interaction for gaming, industrial, and medical applications. 

Optical designs for AR devices using Computer-Generated Holography can be more compact and ergonomic.

VividQ, whose technology originates from the University of Cambridge, offers software and hardware development kits for holographic displays. iView designs and manufactures optical modules, from ultra-compact modules for AR, to high power modules for home entertainment and commercial use. 

The new partnership will allow technology companies, including world-leading Original Equipment Manufacturers and Original Device Manufacturers, to integrate holographic displays into their products, with iView’s and VividQ’ technologies.

Darran Milne, co-founder and CEO of VividQ, said: “At VividQ, we are powering the display revolution with Computer-Generated Holography. By combining our expertise with iView’s products, we can offer one of the most innovative display solutions to manufacturers of AR devices.

“Following the recent appointment of VividQ’s general manager for APAC, this partnership is yet another milestone for us to expand in this highly innovative region.”

Steve Yeung, CEO of iView, added: “We believe that Computer-Generated Holography is the ultimate solution for overlaying virtual content onto the real world.

“Other AR display technologies result in a single focus plane causing visual fatigue and confusion in the viewers. Holographic AR wearables are the holy grail and have the potential to replace our mobile phones one day. This collaboration brings about a major technological advancement to make it happen.”

Research from Markets&Markets shows that the AR market was valued at $14.7 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $88.4bn  by 2026 – growing at a compound annual growth rate of 31.5 per cent. 

One of the key factors driving the growth of the market include surging demand for AR devices. The flourishing enterprises (manufacturing) sector in China and Japan is projected to fuel the growth in APAC.