Apple AR headset debuts in mid-2022 with lightweight Fresnel lens design, Kuo says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 23
Apple is expected to use Fresnel lenses in its rumored augmented reality headset to increase the device's field of view and keep weight less than 150 grams, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


In a note to investors Monday seen by AppleInsider, Kuo says that Apple will use Fresnel lenses as the design solution for the head-mounted device's ultra-short focal length lenses. That will increase the optical performance of the device while cutting weight and thickness.

"We believe that Apple will use a hybrid Fresnel lens design further to enhance the Fresnel lens's optical performance (e.g., improve vignetting and optical artifacts), and each hybrid Fresnel lens comprises three stacked Fresnel lenses," Kuo writes.

The analyst added that the micro-OLEDs used in Apple's head-mounted device could compensate for the light intake caused by adopting Fresnel lenses. He attributes that to the high brightness of the micro-OLEDs, and says the platform could "provide innovative [augmented reality and mixed reality] experiences."

Apple's supposed system could do away with some of the issues of current VR or AR headsets with Fresnel lenses, which typically weigh about 300 to 400 grams and sport a bulkier form factor. One of the major design challenges among VR headset manufacturers is to achieve a thin and light enough design.

However, Kuo says that one of the major competitive advantages of video-see-through augmented reality devices, like the rumored "Apple Glass," is that field of view requirements are generally lower than VR headsets. Because of that, they can be made thinner and lighter.

The analyst says that the use of Fresnel lenses will allow Apple to strike a better balance between its headset's form factor and its field of view. The rumored Apple HMD device could weigh about 150 grams or slightly less, he added. Each hybrid Fresnel lens for a single eye is made up of a stack of three Fresnel lenses. Since each Apple headset will use two hybrid Fresnel lenses, that will equal 10 lenses in total per device.

"The Apple HMD Fresnel lens material is plastic. Because of the customized material and coating, the light transmission is not lower than glass," Kuo writes. "It also means that the [average selling price] is not low."

Kuo names Young Optics and Genius as suppliers of Fresnel lenses for Apple's headset device. He believes Young Optics will be the primary supplier, since Apple and the company started working together and investing more resources earlier than Genius.

Earlier in March, Kuo predicted that Apple's AR headset could feature advanced eye tracking and possibly iris recognition technology.

Apple is thought to be working on at least two separate headset devices, including a visor-like, mixed reality device that Kuo says could debut in 2022 for an estimated $1,000. That device could then be followed by the thinner and lighter "Apple Glass" in 2025, and by AR contact lenses after 2030.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    ne1ne1 Posts: 60member
    That's nice. Where are the new MacBook Pros? 
  • Reply 2 of 16
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,477member
    ne1 said:
    That's nice. Where are the new MacBook Pros? 
    The people working on this product have no connections to the MacBook Pro. Why even type this?
    StrangeDaysdrdavidwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    It would have been helpful if there was a note on what exactly Fresnel Lens are. 

    I checked Wiki about it and, while there is probably no small way to explain what it is, a paragraph about it would have been helpful. 
    mobirdStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    It would have been helpful if there was a note on what exactly Fresnel Lens are. 

    I checked Wiki about it and, while there is probably no small way to explain what it is, a paragraph about it would have been helpful. 
    They work the same as normal lenses, they are just made thinner by putting microscopic concentric grooves in the surface to change the angle of light as it passes through. Think of it as the lens equivalent of lossy jpeg compression. You basically make the lens smaller by losing information you’ll never notice anyway. They need to do this or it would be like wearing three pairs of glasses each over the next.

    Not all lenses are equal. Hopefully they put in better lenses then the Oculus Quest uses. The Quest refracts light pretty badly (i.e. lossy) in dark scenes.
    edited March 23 patchythepirateright_said_fredbestkeptsecretwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    tobiantobian Posts: 112member
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    AR contact lenses?  Really....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    flydogflydog Posts: 967member
    tobian said:
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    The device depicted is a video see thru design. Read the article. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 16
    flydogflydog Posts: 967member
    ne1 said:
    That's nice. Where are the new MacBook Pros? 
    Email Apple. Why would anyone posting here know that?
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 378member
    I am a little confused as to what is being described here - is it "AR" - which typically superimposes computer generated content on top of reality - or VR/"mixed reality" - which fills the user's vision with entirely computer-generated content, some of which can come from cameras that pick up "reality" outside the headset.

    This 150g is pretty darn good for a VR headset, but it would be completely unacceptable for AR glasses.  Who would accept the weight of an iPhone pushing down on the bridge of their nose and their ears?  For AR glasses to become mainstream, they can't weigh much more than regular glasses - so, around 30g.
    edited March 23 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 536member
    It would have been helpful if there was a note on what exactly Fresnel Lens are. 

    I checked Wiki about it and, while there is probably no small way to explain what it is, a paragraph about it would have been helpful. 
    The short explanation is that lenses work at the boundary between two materials. Most commonly, this is the boundary between air and either glass or plastic. Each material has a refractive index, and the difference between the refractive indexes determines how light is bent by passing between those two materials.

    Simple lenses have surfaces which can be expressed as parts of two spheres. These are easy to make, as we have been making them for centuries, and have developed pretty complex machinery to help. The downside is strong lenses (which bend light a large amount) with spherical surfaces need to be very thick.

    Fresnel lenses are a way of addressing the thickness of simple lenses. Take a simple, spherical lens, and cut it into concentric circles centered on the axis through which you look. Next, collapse it by making each ring thinner along the axis through which you look. If you take a cross-section of the lens, it looks a bit like the teeth on a rip saw. Close to the edges, the teeth can be very steep. As you get to the center, they become more shallow. Finally, at the center itself, you have what looks like a very thin spherical lens. The surface is very complicated (especially if you apply it to both faces of the lens), so they have historically been really hard to produce reliably with acceptable quality. A handful of photographic lenses use them, but cost a lot because of the high reject rate.

    Fresnel lenses also have certain desirable properties like chromatic aberration going in the opposite direction from simple spherical lenses. Strong lens assemblies tend to produce weird color fringes, because the different wavelengths of light bend very slightly different amounts as they move between materials. Using a Fresnel lens in the path helps cancel this out, which lets you have a strong lens assembly which doesn't distort color.

    Lenses to let us comfortably focus on something maybe an inch from our eyes have to be extremely strong. Without Fresnel lenses, the lens assemblies would have to be very thick (and heavy) or composed of exotic, high-refractive-index glass or plastic, and you would get weird color fringes on bright objects.
    fastasleepright_said_fredbestkeptsecretwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    tobiantobian Posts: 112member
    flydog said:
    tobian said:
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    The device depicted is a video see thru design. Read the article. 
    I know it’s video see-thru. You didn’t understand my post.. I simply want an eye contact and no full video recording capability. I would be asking users in front of me to put it down immediately.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 735member
    tobian said:
    flydog said:
    tobian said:
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    The device depicted is a video see thru design. Read the article. 
    I know it’s video see-thru. You didn’t understand my post.. I simply want an eye contact and no full video recording capability. I would be asking users in front of me to put it down immediately.
    I think the product you’re looking for is tentatively called the “Apple Glass” and is rumored to be coming anywhere between 1-3 years after the product described in the article. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,388member
    ne1 said:
    That's nice. Where are the new MacBook Pros? 
    Since they already released one round of new MBPs, its obvious they are coming out the pipeline as scheduled. So what on earth are you on about?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,388member

    tobian said:
    flydog said:
    tobian said:
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    The device depicted is a video see thru design. Read the article. 
    I know it’s video see-thru. You didn’t understand my post.. I simply want an eye contact and no full video recording capability. I would be asking users in front of me to put it down immediately.
    There is no way on earth you can expect Apple will sell goggles like that intended for street use. Seriously. 0% chance. If you’re worried about it you don’t know Apple very well. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    tobiantobian Posts: 112member

    tobian said:
    flydog said:
    tobian said:
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    The device depicted is a video see thru design. Read the article. 
    I know it’s video see-thru. You didn’t understand my post.. I simply want an eye contact and no full video recording capability. I would be asking users in front of me to put it down immediately.
    There is no way on earth you can expect Apple will sell goggles like that intended for street use. Seriously. 0% chance. If you’re worried about it you don’t know Apple very well. 
    I’m not worried about it as much, as I like there are no touch screen MacBooks for a reason! ,) I react on informations provided in this article, specifically

    ”video-see-through augmented reality devices, like the rumored "Apple Glass,"

    But depicted seems to be VR headset, for home use likely. This article, or Kuo’s statement, mish-mash with AR vs. VR, with see-thru and video see-thru. It don’t make much sense to me.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,477member
    tjwolf said:
    I am a little confused as to what is being described here - is it "AR" - which typically superimposes computer generated content on top of reality - or VR/"mixed reality" - which fills the user's vision with entirely computer-generated content, some of which can come from cameras that pick up "reality" outside the headset.

    This 150g is pretty darn good for a VR headset, but it would be completely unacceptable for AR glasses.  Who would accept the weight of an iPhone pushing down on the bridge of their nose and their ears?  For AR glasses to become mainstream, they can't weigh much more than regular glasses - so, around 30g.
    tobian said:

    tobian said:
    flydog said:
    tobian said:
    I believe that no see-thru designs, like the one depicted, won’t success as everyday outdoor wearable gear. I can’t imagine being talking with somebody with eyes hidden, pointing cameras on me.
    The device depicted is a video see thru design. Read the article. 
    I know it’s video see-thru. You didn’t understand my post.. I simply want an eye contact and no full video recording capability. I would be asking users in front of me to put it down immediately.
    There is no way on earth you can expect Apple will sell goggles like that intended for street use. Seriously. 0% chance. If you’re worried about it you don’t know Apple very well. 
    I’m not worried about it as much, as I like there are no touch screen MacBooks for a reason! ,) I react on informations provided in this article, specifically

    ”video-see-through augmented reality devices, like the rumored "Apple Glass,"

    But depicted seems to be VR headset, for home use likely. This article, or Kuo’s statement, mish-mash with AR vs. VR, with see-thru and video see-thru. It don’t make much sense to me.
    Seems pretty clear to me that a lot of these reports and subsequent articles are conflating elements from two different products.

    There's the VR-style headset a la Oculus or PSVR that these Fresnel lenses would be for, replacing the thick spherical lenses that typically exist directly in front of the eyes to present an OLED (or potentially microLED) screen behind the lenses directly to the eyes. You can also implement exterior cameras that pass through video to the screens inside for a "see through" effect as needed in between VR uses or to present an AR-like experience. But the goal here is to reduce the depth (and weight) needed by the spherical lenses and distance from the eye to the screen. 

    The AR glasses ("Apple Glass") would be using waveguide-type tech to direct images from tiny microLED or tiny OLED screens that are off to the side (usually) into the lenses and back into the eye, superimposing the imagery on top of real world environment passing through the lenses  — which are thinner/flatter like eyeglasses and do not require a Fresnel-type design—directly. 

    Two different products. Some overlapping uses and tech. Sentences like this "Apple's supposed system could do away with some of the issues of current VR or AR headsets with Fresnel lenses, which typically weigh about 300 to 400 grams and sport a bulkier form factor." just confuse the issue as you wouldn't use Fresnel lenses in a pure AR headset like the Glass is rumored to be.
    tobianwatto_cobra
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