Some Thoughts

The most recent post about Gartner advising their clients that augmented reality is 1. coming for consumers and 2. will be an integral part of enterprise IT deployments within the next five years pretty much confirmed what I've been saying here on MVIS Blog since its inception in 2004. That is, that location and context aware services are transformational, and will take the mobile internet to a much higher level of usability and value.

I've also described that cool looking wearable displays are critical to the emergence of augmented reality. These displays need to have a combination of daylight readability and high see-through performance -- current head-down handheld mobile phone displays can't be used to display floating information that's readily apparent and usable in the context of your activity, which is a foundational principle of AR systems. Likewise, LCD or OLED-based wearable displays that are either not see-through, or not bright enough to make digital information appear to float in front of you on a sunny day (or moonlit night) will not be acceptable for AR applications.

We believe that Gartner's report is accurate, and that AR for both consumers and enterprise IT will emerge to become a large part of our economy over the next few years. To that end, Microvision's eyewear platform is being designed specifically for AR applications, bringing together a unique combination of attributes that we believe will be unmatched in the market for wearable displays:

* Cool, lightweight form factor
* Totally see-through
* Day or night-readability (high brightness)

Our 'thin mint' sized laser projector, PicoP, helps us meet two of these critical requirements -- it's so tiny and thin that it can be embedded inside of conventional eyewear frames without adding very much weight or bulk; plus, it delivers a high resolution, high brightness image. By combining PicoP with our next generation thin optics, currently in development, we will be able to deliver high-performance, daylight-readable, see-through displays inside of cool eyewear.

This type of capability has tremendous value to customers in multiple vertical markets, including our military customers who are leveraging our ongoing eyewear development program.

We envision that eyewear displays for AR will be adopted initially by military customers, followed by medical, industrial, consumer, and as Gartner suggests below, enterprise IT markets -- and that our unique feature set positions us well to deliver a range of great products to meet multiple market needs.

So whether you believe me when I've written about the emergence of AR on this blog, or believe Gartner when they back me up, it's coming, and it's transformational. We think (and we have external validation) that our technology and products will be a key enabler of this nascent transformation in computing and communications.

About Gartner:
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations.


  1. So, Ben, tell me, when is MVIS going to market the Eyewear? All the hoopla about the iPhone, but it's still a product you have to hold in your hand. Is Apple working on a next-gen EyePhone with a laser headset? (Now THAT would really reinvent the phone!) Enquiring minds want to know!

  2. As our number one Visionary you have always been ahead of the curve, and now Gartner too.

    "our next generation thin optics, currently in development"

    I look forward to seeing what Corning and or Oerlikon can produce in that respect.

    Thanks Ben and as always "Keep that Vision Strong"


  3. The thin mint PicoP currently does not include battery and electronics. What will be the final size after battery and electronics are included. Will the form factor still small enough to fit on the eyeglass? If it is then why the projected standalone model is so big?

  4. Electronics will fit in thin mint module. Battery is not and was never intended to fit inside of thin mint PicoP. Battery will reside elsewhere...

    I would expect our accessory PicoP to be 'shirt pocket compatible'...

    Also, one thing to everybody, try to refrain from name calling in comments -- let's keep a respectful atmosphere, especially for folks who are new or don't quite have the hang of it here yet...

    Thanks much!

  5. I would expect that one reason the standalone is bigger is that the eyewear will use much lower power lasers, or at least the lasers at much lower power. MUCH lower. 5mw straight into the retina has gotta be a bit excessive.

    So if the lasers emit less watts, the battery can be smaller.

    Plus the standalone is going to need bigger and perhaps multiple connectors for PC's iPods, camcorders and such, as well as analog->digital converters and such.

  6. Hi Ben, is there a movement in the industry towards a standard "connector/interface" for cell phones, mp3 players, cameras,... to connect to external devices?

    Is there such an effort for internal interfaces to integrated add-ons like the PicoP?

    Would the PicoP ASIC need different interfacing for the different products it is targeting?

    Thank you for your time.


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