When Apple’s consumer-grade AR products will come out, the market is looking forward to it. However, from the perspective of AR development history, there are still many challenges in turning AR glasses from the enterprise side to the consumer side. In order to create a metaverse parallel to the real world, AR/VR equipment, which is regarded as the entrance to the online world, has become the main battlefield of technology research and development for technology giants. Various manufacturers are speeding up technological innovation and strengthening patent competitiveness.

Microsoft’s patent competitiveness comes out on top

Earlier this year, Nikkei and Patent Result, a patent research company, launched a patent analysis report, showing that by 2021, Microsoft’s VR/AR-related patent competitiveness will rank first, followed by startups Magic Leap and Sony, followed by Apple. 4. So far, Apple has more than 5,000 public patent applications related to AR/VR, accounting for more than 97% of invention patents. Apple, which always creates a market whirlwind every time it launches consumer products, CEO Cook said at this year’s WWDC. During the developer conference, it was announced that the development of AR headsets was underway, and the appearance of consumer-grade AR glasses that are lighter in application will catch the public’s attention. It is rumored that a prototype will appear at the end of this year, and the official mass production will be in. Two years from now, it is also expected to lead the consumer market with a smaller form factor and more vivid image presentation.

In fact, Google glass is the originator of AR glasses. After the first smart glasses were launched in 2014, although they attracted considerable attention in the market and were rated as the best product of the year by Time magazine, as a consumer-grade product, the display area is too small, The low resolution and small viewing angle are likely to cause dizziness and visual fatigue to the wearer. In addition, Magic Leap, an innovative company with mixed reality technology, was once invested by big names such as Google, Alibaba and Warner Bros. After the launch of the first AR glasses product Magic Leap One, it even raised a sales target of 100,000 units. However, the sales volume fell below that of everyone’s glasses. With two corporate cases as lessons learned, most manufacturers of AR glasses have adjusted their product strategies.Ditch the consumer-facing business and move to the enterprise market

After a few years, the current application of AR glasses is showing a trend of diversification. For example, Microsoft’s Holo Lens is very helpful in the fields of maintenance, logistics, medical care, etc., while Google glasses shines in individual vertical fields, but there are still core technologies in the upstream. There are many technical difficulties, including display technology, optics, and chips that have yet to be broken through, especially in terms of cost.Optical and display technologies account for nearly half of AR devices, and processors including CPU, GPU, and HPU account for about 30%., subject to the relatively high cost of acquisition, so the current growth rate of shipments is relatively limited, and it is difficult to popularize. Therefore, cost reduction and efficiency improvement are the development goals of many technology manufacturers under the premise of turning to the consumer market and mass production.

AROptical technology and representative products of glasses

Source: IoT Media

The problem of moving from the enterprise side to the consumer side

The United States is still the world’s most advanced and largest market for AR/VR technology, but it will usher in China’s rapid catch-up. IDC estimates that the total global AR/VR investment scale in 2021 will be nearly 14.67 billion US dollars, and the five-year compound growth rate will reach 38.5%, whileThe compound growth rate of the Chinese market will reach 43.8%, the highest growth rate in the world.Until 2026, AR training, industrial maintenance, AR laboratory and higher education equipment will become mainstream application scenarios, accounting for more than 30% of the investment scale of China’s AR market. In China, brands such as DPVR and Pico have emerged in the field of VR devices. With great emphasis on AR/VR development, it is expected that more industrial support policies will be introduced in the future.

Data source: IDC

And what will happen in the next few years? In general, the development of AR glasses can be roughly divided into three stages.Phase 1 is similar to Meta’s collaboration with Ray-Ban glasses Ray-Ban Stories, you can take photos, shoot videos, listen to music and make calls through smart glasses, but do not have AR functions;In the second stage, it has common functions that ordinary mobile phones have., similar to today’s smart watches, it can occasionally be used as a backup machine, but there are still many basic functions to be perfected;In the third stage, you will no longer need to bring your mobile phone when you go out in the future, and you only need glasses to meet all your daily needs., and there are even rumors in the industry that AR glasses will replace the iPhone within ten years.

AR New Imagination: Contact Lenses

There is also exciting news recently. Maybe people’s future life will be realized by wearing contact lenses like many sci-fi movies. This year, Mojo Vision, an American innovation company, announced that it has completed the first eye-penetration test of wearing AR contact lenses Mojo Lens on real eyeballs. In particular, this is an independent device with a diameter of only 0.5 cm, and does not need to be connected to a device such as a mobile phone. It can run. Users can monitor the heart rate, distance and other information of exercise through Mojo Lens, and the movement of eyeballs can activate functions such as photography and navigation.

Judging from the key technologies announced, the most important display uses a 14,000-pixel Micro LED display screen. The technology website VentureBeat estimates that its pixel density is about 30 times that of the iPhone. The product also has a built-in 5GHz radio transmitter, ARM Core M0 Processor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer for eye tracking, and a medical-grade micro battery on the periphery, claiming to be able to operate for a whole day, however, the wearing comfort and monochrome display screen will advance to color in the future. direction that requires effort.

Data source: Essence Securities

It is believed that in the foreseeable future, the younger generation will interact with the world through AR/VR and become the mainstream. The semiconductor and optical industries are also expected to catch up with the AR/VR boom and contribute to the technology of the new era.

Editor: Huang Fei

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