German specialty glassmaker SCHOTT AG introduced on Tuesday SCHOTT RealView, a high-index glass wafer that allows more immersive augmented reality (AR) applications, to the Chinese market.
The new SCHOTT RealView wafers are made from optical glass with a high refractive index of 1.6-2.0, compared to an index of 1.5 typical for the former generation of glass wafers. Following the rules of optics, the total internal reflection angle responsible for the guiding of the image is doubled in SCHOTT RealView™ wafers, correlating to larger field of view, according to the company.
Limited field of view (FOV) in AR devices has always a pain for improving the user experience. SCHOTT claims RealView is greatly expanding the FOV, allowing information to appear nearly everywhere within the limits of human peripheral vision. In addition, the wafer is extra thin at 0.025mm, making it capable of creating a crisp and high contrast image.
With a recently established joint venture between SCHOTT and Zhejiang Crystal-Optech, the company is planning to mass produce this glass wafer in its expanding production facilities in China.
Market research companies forecast the emergence of AR consumer market around 2020 with several million devices sold annually. Annual growth will bring the market size – according to studies of famous market research firm IDTechex – to a size of 50 million devices sold annually by 2025 with growth rates at 64% CAGR during the period of 2020 – 2025.
Thanks to the huge market size and quick adoption of new technologies, China is taking an increasingly great part of the emerging industry with the rise of big names and newcomers alike. Improvement in glass components would further boost the already thriving AR scene in China.
“SCHOTT is acutely aware of the huge potential AR technology presents for our future world, and China is one of our key markets,” said Dr. Frank Heinricht, Chairman of SCHOTT. “We place high importance on this field, and will continue our efforts and investments into bringing these technologies to business and consumers.”