AR technology sounds pretty cool, but no one wants to be a glass hole. Today at CES, we checked out Lumusbid to make AR glasses a little less cringe. The company is developing technology that makes it much easier for eyewear makers to create glasses that more or less look like glasses and are also compatible with prescription lenses.
The new goggles show off the second generation of its “Z-Lens 2D waveguide” technology, which halves the size and weight of the technology needed to bring AR to life.
“For AR glasses to meaningfully penetrate the consumer market, they need to be both functionally and aesthetically impressive. With Z-Lens, we are aligning form and function, eliminating barriers to industry entry and paving the way for widespread consumer adoption,” said Ari Grobman, CEO of Lumus, in an interview with australiabusinessblog.com. “Our introduction of Maximus 2D reflective waveguide technology two years ago was just the beginning. With all of its enhancements, Z-Lens unlocks the future of augmented reality that consumers are eagerly awaiting.”
The lenses have 2Kx2K resolution, surprisingly vibrant colors and a head-up display that can be seen even in broad daylight. Extra good news for this particular spectacle wearer: the company’s technology can be directly connected to Rx prescription glasses. The technology works by using so-called “reflective waveguides” that help the tiny projectors in the eyeglass frames project onto the inside of the semi-translucent lenses. This means that the glasses can be used as regular glasses and can be used as a projection screen at the same time. The other advantage is that there is minimal light leakage – so it is virtually impossible to see from the front that the wearer is getting information beamed into their eye holes.
The company tells me it has applied for a patent and claims it has already issued more than 430 patents, with another 540 patents pending. That puts it both among the world’s top patent holders for augmented reality optics and beautifully positioned as an acquisition target for a larger company that might be afraid of getting sued, bored of paying licensing fees, or both.