Following the report of WaveOptics’ nearly $16 million series B funding last July, the Oxford, UK-based optics tech company announced today it has partnered with semiconductor, microelectromechanical, and nanotech supplier EV Group (ECG) to bring consumer-ready augmented reality displays to market by the end of 2019. These AR wearables would retail for less than $600.
“This partnership marks an AR industry inflexion point and is a critical step in the mass manufacture of high quality AR solutions — a capability that has not been possible to date,” says WaveOptics CEO David Hayes. “This collaboration is key to unlocking the development of AR wearables; together we are well positioned to bring mass market innovation in AR, opening new paths to scalability at a lower cost than ever before.”
If WaveOptics and EVG can live up to its promises, the sub-$600 price tag will be by far the lowest-priced wearable augmented reality display yet released, at least compared to 2018 prices. With a sizable cost reduction for third-party optics, this partnership has the potential to attract more big players such as Samsung, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Snap into the AR wearables market and allow them to scale faster at a much lower cost.
As explained by EVG’s Corporate Technology Development and IP Director Markus Wimplinger, “We develop new technologies and processes to outperform the most complex challenges, helping our customers to successfully commercialize their new product ideas. For the proliferation of our leading edge Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) technology, we have created our NILPhotonics Competence Center. Within this framework, which has strong policies to protect our customers’ IP, we support our customers on their product development and commercialization journey from the feasibility to the production phase. This is exactly what we are doing today with WaveOptics, an established leader in AR, to provide a truly scalable solution to end customers.”