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Let’s talk about POWER – part I

Many of you follow the fascinating quest to mobile AR smartglasses, trying to understand why hasn’t it happened though all the best companies in the world are spending billions of dollars without any solution around the corner.

My humble opinion after more than 25 years in AR is that companies are trying to solve it the wrong way. We also made our share of mistakes believing that some immature but promising technologies will develop faster but we failed to understand, at the time, the physical limitations of those technologies. We adopted making the necessary changes to our roadmap.


My hope today is that you’re still be a believer and that mobile all day AR will happen and even sooner than what we tend to think. Yes, I know, Microsoft (Hololens), Google (Glass), Magic Leap (ML), Meta (Stories), and others have made similar statements so why should you believe us? Well for one thing we decided to stay stealth making the pledge that we will not promise until will deliver. We didn’t make any statements till we had our foot in the market. We have tons of “promising” AR companies but only a few that made it to the consumer land, and only one in the mobile AR smartglasses market – Everysight!. How we do it will be part of a series of blogs. I’ll try and keep it short and focused, and not too technical so you can easily and swiftly read through it without any engineering background.


In past blogs I discussed the ergonomic challenge, specifically fitting all the smart parts (optics, electronics, battery) into no more than 15-20 grams thus keeping the overall smartglasses under 50 grams (max weight for a comfortable all day pair of glasses).


Today I’d like to dive deeper into the tradeoffs we did over the years and why we followed the technological path that brought us to Maverick, the first and only lightweight wireless device that works all day, both indoor and outdoor, with an ultrabright full color display and sensor suite.


The first thing I’d like to talk about is Power but before I do it let me share with a slide presented by Sony a few years ago in one of their public presentations:

credit: Sony Corporation


When you compare the four different optical approaches for optical see through AR you will notice that there’re two front runners – The free form and the waveguide approaches. Comparing the two, one will see that the difference is mainly between form factor and optical efficiency. While the waveguide is considered fairly small and adequate to a glasses-like form factor it does have its limitation, one being the optical efficiency. On the other hand, taking the freeform approach will put you head-to-head with the form factor issue (BTW - the only one with a double minus in the chart). Due to this reason, most of the companies, other than Everysight, are pursuing a waveguide solution hoping that one day the optical inefficiency will be overcomed using a low power high brightness full color display. This brings me back to the power issue.


Rember the Apollo 13 movie with Tom Hanks, when they are trying to find a re-entry procedure but failing to do so over and over again due to the battery output capacity. Well Houston, we have a similar problem, we are limited by weight therefore limited by power!


The graph on the right gives you a good idea about the battery capacity you can expectusing different technologies. Let’s assume you’re using a Li-Polymer battery then at best you can expect is 180 Wh/kg or 1.8Wh for a 10-gram battery. An 6-8 hour full day operation will give you 225-300mW capacity per hour.


So the question to be asked is what would be the relevant system configuration(s) and what functionalities can we expect once we use such a limited power source. This will be discussed in the next blog.


Until next time,

Asaf

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