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10 August 2022

Micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses chip market to grow to $38.3m by 2026

Micro-LED light engine performance beats micro-OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) in terms of brightness, contrast ratio and responsiveness in transparent augmented-reality (AR) smart glasses micro-displays and is ideal for applications in outdoor environments, according to the report ‘TrendForce 2022 Self-Emitting Micro LED Display Cost and Trend Analysis’.

Since 2021, more than 10 branded manufacturers around the world have launched micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses concepts, and related suppliers have improved micro-LED technology and accelerated factory expansion in order to meet subsequent mass-production planning. Revenue for micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses chips is forecast to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 704% from 2023 to about $38.3m in 2026.

However, the current difficulties encountered in the development of micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses mainly arise from optical waveguide technology, light engine technology, battery storage capacity, and image transmission issues. Since transparent smart glasses require high-resolution and high-brightness specifications for outdoor use, micro-LEDs are the first choice for the light engine.

At present, micro-LED light engine technology is not yet mature and the external quantum efficiency of red chips is too low. Problems regarding the miniaturization of micro-displays have appeared one by one.

In addition, micro-display sizes are too small, resulting in a small field of view (FOV) so narrow as to affect viewing.

If the optical waveguide design method is employed, optical efficiency falls at less than 1%, and incidental light must provide higher brightness to meet the specifications necessary for outdoor use of micro-displays. In addition, transparent smart glasses will need to be worn for a certain period of time. Therefore, battery lifespan and size directly affect product design. Furthermore, another major obstacle is finding a way to integrate the sensor to transmit and process image data.

At its Micro LED Forum 2022 on 13 September, TrendForce will reveal the current technological progress of various manufacturers in developing transparent AR smart glasses. Many technical fields are focused on the development of optics and light engines. In the field of optics, TrendForce invited Kura Technologies to share their 8K resolution and FOV 150 micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses, in a departure from products offered by other manufacturers that can only reach 1080P and FOV 50. In addition, ams OSRAM will analyze the market segmentation, application standards, and technical challenges of transparent AR smart glasses and discusses the differences between micro-LED micro-projection displays and LBS laser beam scanning display technology.

In the field of light engines, JBD has been aggressively developing light engines for micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses in recent years. JBD announced a large-scale investment and construction plan in 2022 and established long-term strategic cooperation agreements with a number of optical waveguide manufacturers. The firm also achieved a major technological breakthrough, producing a micro-LED chip capable of emitting 500,000 nits of ultra-high-brightness red light, injecting fresh momentum into the transparent AR smart glasses field. Porotech, a UK-based micro-LED chip maker focusing on AR applications, developed a new porous GaN semiconductor material technology to complete the development of micro-LED red light chips that can improve external quantum efficiency (EQE) to resolve the full-color light source issue inherent in transparent AR smart glasses.

TrendForce indicates that, as micro-LED light engine and optical technology continues to progress and brands plan new products, there will be prospects to accelerate the advent of a commercial viable micro-LED transparent AR smart glasses product. When the technology and costs are in place, business opportunities will extend from military, medical, aviation and industrial fields to commercial and comprehensive consumer applications, concludes the report.

Tags: microLED LED market

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