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HoloBeam: Paper-Thin Near-Eye Displays

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posted on 2023-01-10, 03:29 authored by Kaan Akşit, Yuta Itoh
An emerging alternative to conventional Augmented Reality (AR) glasses designs, Beaming displays promise slim AR glasses free from challenging design trade-offs, including battery-related limits or computational budget-related issues. These beaming displays remove active components such as batteries and electronics from AR glasses and move them to a projector that projects images to a user from a distance (1-2 meters), where users wear only passive optical eyepieces. However, earlier implementations of these displays delivered poor resolutions (7 cycles per degree) without any optical focus cues and were introduced with a bulky form-factor eyepiece (50 mm thick). This paper introduces a new milestone for beaming displays, which we call HoloBeam. In this new design, a custom holographic projector populates a micro-volume located at some distance (1-2 meters) with multiple planes of images. Users view magnified copies of these images from this small volume with the help of an eyepiece that is either a Holographic Optical Element (HOE) or a set of lenses. Our HoloBeam prototypes demonstrate the thinnest AR glasses to date with a submillimeter thickness (e.g., HOE film is only 120 um thick). In addition, HoloBeam prototypes demonstrate near retinal resolutions (24 cycles per degree) with a 70 degrees-wide field of view.

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