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Spectacle lenses with integrated smartphone functionality

11 November 2015

A Finnish spinout hopes to commercialise a new display that brings visual information directly into a spectacle wearer's field of vision, as a high-definition image.

Antti Sunnari with the display that can be almost invisibly integrated into lenses

The developers believe the technology will enable smartglasses to replace even smartphones or tablets, while still allowing users to see the world around them. Also able to be integrated with current smartglasses, the product is expected to be available to consumers within a year.

The display technology - developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and currently being commercialised by Finnish spinout, Dispelix Oy - is based on lightguide optics, which enables the manufacture of displays on either glass or plastic in the form of lightweight, thin elements to provide a large, high-quality virtual image and excellent transparency. The display element can also be freely shaped.

"Compared to existing solutions, which are bulky or difficult to manufacture, the Dispelix solution has advantages such as the display's thinness, lightness, aesthetic appearance and volume production compatibility," says Dispelix managing director, Antti Sunnari.

The display's user-friendliness is boosted by the fact that the virtual image forms within the user's field of vision, which prevents eye strain. Dispelix's display can be customised to meet different customer needs; depending on the application, either simple, monochrome information or a multi-coloured video image can be displayed within the user's field of vision.

"The size of the virtual image is equivalent to a 60-inch TV viewed from a distance of three metres," says Sunnari.

Dispelix is currently fund-raising and building a partner network in order to accelerate commercialisation. The displays are ready for volume production and the company aims to make the first customer deliveries in 2016.

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