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Optical Component Verification in R&D

The growing need for optical component testing and verification

Optics and its testing has become the main battleground for consumer electronics. The first camera phones were introduced over two decades ago, and mobile manufacturers are still coming up with more challenging camera and optics configurations.

The complexity of optical components moved to the next level after most consumer electronics companies started their R&D race towards next-generation AR/VR eye-wear. The efforts of making head-mounted displays smaller with even larger fields of view and larger eyeboxes are pushing the limits of existing technology across the whole image generation hardware. It is also challenging the fabrication process and image processing algorithms. Image generation itself would be a challenge to existing technology. Image generation is complemented by eye tracking, gesture tracking, motion tracking and varifocal lenses.

New technologies are developed by inventing new optical components, lenses, waveguides, sensors and light sources. In order to productize the research project, the design steps need to be validated and the design change impact must be characterized. That sets a need for optical component verification.

 

Human simulation approach

Through its history OptoFidelity has approached test challenges by mimicking human. HMD Eye is a good example of mimicking human eye. Mimicking human works well for complete devices. For optical component verification, reference light sources, sensors and motion are required. Using reference light sources it is possible to limit the characterization to optical component and exclude other system variables.
 
Recently we published a blog post about characterizing augmented reality displays based on waveguide gratings. Another good example would be HMD IQ AR variant with reference projector.
 

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