Infineon looks to revolutionise AR with new MEMs scanner
Infineon has developed a new MEMs scanner solution that it claims could revolutionise the deployment of augmented reality applications.
Comprising of a MEMS mirror and MEMS driver, the scanner will allow the development of completely new product designs. Its miniature size and low power consumption will mean that more augmented reality (AR) solutions will now be more widely available for consumer applications such as wearables and for automotive head-up displays.
“Augmented reality solutions enrich real environments with valuable digital data and help people to move around more conveniently and safely in daily life, for business and leisure activities, but especially on the street,” said Charles Chan, head of Infineon’s automotive MEMS product line. “Maps, infotainment or messages projected on everyday glasses guide people to the nearest supermarket or shared car park around the corner. Overlaying valuable information, from route navigation to driver assistance systems, over the car’s complete windshield, instead of just over a small area in front of the driver, is a major step ahead for improving driving safety and convenience.”
Infineon’s MEMS scanner chipset features a tilting mirror which the company says will lay the foundation for a new generation of laser beam scanner (LBS) projectors.
For example, a major challenge when developing AR-HUDs is integrating the system into the dashboard, due to space restrictions. Conventional HUD systems can be more than 30 litres in optical volume, yet still offer only a very modest field of view. By contrast, laser beam scanners based on Infineon’s MEMS scanner chipsets will enable HUD systems with minimum optical volume, so they can be integrated into a much broader range of dashboards. Easy integration comnined with a competitive bill of material will also help to bring AR-HUDs with a large field of view to smaller cars and more compact classes.
The MEMS scanner chipset can also enable the design of an AR micro-projector which is light and can be integrated into all-day-wear eyeglasses and sports glasses. Thanks to the chipset’s low power consumption, small batteries can easily be integrated into the frame, allowing the glasses to be worn conveniently throughout the day without the need to frequently recharge the batteries.
To advance the development of AR smart glasses’ systems for the consumer market, Infineon is collaborating with TriLite Technologies, a Vienna-based start-up. TriLite is responsible for system integration and control algorithms that enhance the optical performance of the system.
Both companies bring several years of research in optical MEMS and mass manufacturing capabilities to the collaboration.