Optics for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality 2022-2032: Technologies, Players and Markets: IDTechEx

Extended reality optics industry to grow at 24% CAGR to 2032

Optics for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality 2022-2032: Technologies, Players and Markets

AR/MR combiners including diffractive (surface relief/holographic) and reflective (geometric) waveguides, birdbath and freespace combiners and more. Lenses for VR including pancake and geometric phase lenses, auxiliary lenses for waveguides and more

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Virtual reality (VR) replaces the real environment with the virtual, whereas augmented reality (AR) overlays content on top of the real world and virtual content interacts with the real in mixed reality (MR). VR has found its place as a training aid, an enabler of telepresence and as a tool for design or visualization - not to mention as the future of gaming. The use of AR/MR products for guiding workers from afar, keeping operating plans in front of surgeons' eyes and replacing the smartphone for content consumption is steadily growing. In the future, these technologies are promised to revolutionize the way we work and communicate.
However, the specialized optics required by AR/MR headsets have so far proved to be one of the industry's major stumbling blocks. In VR headsets, there is growing usage of new, unconventional lens types to solve the deficiencies of the Fresnel lens-based architectures that have dominated until now. For AR/MR, an entire industry of specialized, often fabless, optics firms has sprung up, offering a diverse range of competing technologies to headset manufacturers that are just as active in this space.
The report primarily covers optical combiners and waveguides for AR/MR and lenses for VR, with additional focus placed on ancillary lenses for waveguides and the specialized optical materials industry supporting these technologies. Key themes across all technologies including the maximization of field of view and eyebox, solving the vergence-accommodation conflict, and efforts to improve color rendition are discussed and compared. Big Tech's entry to the metaverse, the activities of OEMs, the demands of end users and other wider market forces are highlighted. The technologies likely to ultimately dominate the market are identified with extensive justification, providing a clear sense of future industry development.
AR/MR Optics: Optical Combiners, Waveguides and Ancillary Lenses
The AR optics landscape. Source IDTechEx
In AR/MR headset development the goal is a light and comfortable device that you can wear all day, switching in and out of AR/MR whilst enabling natural interactions between the wearer and others present both physically and virtually. For this to happen, images must be overlaid onto the user's vision using optical combiners, raising a wide range of difficulties for the engineer.
In 2022, a consensus is emerging that optical waveguides are the way forward to unobtrusive and immersive AR/MR. Surface relief diffractive waveguides, as used in the HoloLens and Magic Leap devices, have made early strides. Manufactured via processes inherited from the silicon industry, these enable relatively slim and compact devices but suffer from high costs, image quality issues and extremely poor efficiency. Holographic diffractive waveguides and reflective (also known as geometric) waveguides offer alternatives which promise to revolutionize manufacturability and redefine image quality respectively but have yet to gain significant traction.
A range of further combiner technologies, particularly "birdbath" and freespace holographic combiners, also offer convincing candidates for AR/MR headset designers, particularly where cost or compactness, respectively, are top priority. Different technologies fit different headset types - to this end, the AR/MR headset market is segmented into wide vs. narrow field of view for forecasting, with the likely winning technologies for both categories highlighted. Special attention is paid to the benchmarking and development potential of combiners. Further discussion is devoted to the status of ancillary lenses for waveguides, which enable correction of eyewear prescriptions, solving the vergence-accommodation conflict and more.
VR Optics: Emerging Lens Technologies vs. Fresnel Lenses
The VR optics landscape. Source IDTechEx
For most VR users, the currently dominant Fresnel lenses used between the display and the eye to magnify images and bring them into comfortable focus are "good enough". However, in 2022, Fresnel lenses appear to have little scope for further technological development. These lightweight, low-cost optics, typically molded or embossed in plastic allow relatively compact headsets but have deficiencies in terms of ring artifacts, color contrast and more.
Although more advanced hybrid and multi-element Fresnel lens designs help to increase image quality, competing technologies entering the market solve many of the problems inherent to these optics whilst adding functionality and making headsets smaller. The first wave of new designs focuses on compactness - later iterations will solve the vergence-accommodation conflict.
Polarization-based pancake lenses saw their first entry into Western headset markets in 2021 with HTC's Vive Flow, with further releases from Shiftall/Panasonic and possibly Meta expected in 2022. These lenses promise more compact designs by folding the optical path, allow dioptric correction and are devoid of Fresnel artifacts but offer tough development challenges, with lower optical efficiency and preventing double images through material development being key amongst these. Further emerging compact optical designs, such as Lynx/Limbak's catadioptric freeform prism lenses, also promise to make a splash in 2022.
Geometric phase lens arrays, which are dynamically focus-tunable for maximum immersion, may offer the final say in VR optics, yet remain years from deployment. Based on holography or metasurfaces, these have seen interest and patent activity from major players including Meta and Valve. Clearly, this once-static field has transformed into a hotbed for innovation.
Comprehensive analysis and market forecasts
IDTechEx has been covering the AR/VR industry since 2015, staying close to the technical and market developments, interviewing key players worldwide, attending numerous conferences and delivering multiple consulting projects.
Our report assesses the AR/VR optics market in considerable detail, evaluating the different technologies, potential adoption barriers, and their applicability to different application areas. The report includes multiple company profiles based on interviews with major players across the different technologies. We also develop granular 10-year market forecasts for each technology, along with material forecasts for supplying the industry.
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Table of Contents
1.1.Introduction: defining AR, MR, VR and XR
1.2.Applications in VR, AR & MR
1.3.Optics and AR/MR/VR Devices
1.4.Motivation - why are XR optics important?
1.5.XR headsets: state of the market in 2022
1.6.Classifying headsets
1.7.Overall AR and VR headset market forecast (device volume)
1.8.Overall AR and VR headset market forecast (revenue)
1.9.XR headsets: Optical technology choices
1.10.The AR/MR optics technology landscape
1.11.AR combiners: Promising technological candidates
1.12.Status and market potential of optical combiners
1.13.Wide FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
1.14.Narrow FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
1.15.AR combiner technology players
1.16.AR/MR: Ancillary lenses for waveguides
1.17.Everyone wants a chunk of the metaverse: Big Tech entry into the AR/MR market
1.18.The VR optics technology landscape
1.19.Technological status of VR lens technologies
1.20.VR lenses: the winning technological solutions
1.21.VR lens technology forecast (adoption proportions)
1.22.Lens technology players: VR and ancillary AR lenses
1.23.Major headset OEMs
1.24.Optics revenue forecasts
1.25.AR/MR combiners: key technological takeaways
1.26.Ancillary lenses for waveguides: key technological takeaways
1.27.VR lenses: key technological takeaways
2.1.Introduction: defining AR, MR, VR and XR
2.2.AR, MR, VR and XR: a brief history
2.3.The 2010s to date - the age of XR begins
2.4.XR nomenclature - a source of confusion
2.5.XR nomenclature used in this report
2.6.Nomenclature confusion: AR, MR and smartglasses
2.7.Further confusion: passthrough and see-through AR
2.8.Gauging interest: Google search trends
2.9.AR, MR and VR - market development
2.10.The VR market is consolidating
2.11.Applications in VR, AR & MR
2.12.The "metaverse" - hype or the new shape of the internet?
2.13.Industry 4.0 and XR
2.14.VR/AR solutions for Industry 4.0
2.15.Optical requirements for XR
2.16.AR/MR vs. VR optics: development status and design considerations
2.17.How the human eye understands space
2.18.Defining field of view (FoV) - a key consideration for XR optics
2.19.Eyebox and eye relief: keys to XR usability
2.20.An immersive experience requires a wide field of view (FoV) - but is this always necessary?
2.21.Field of view for different headsets
2.22.No free lunches: etendue, FoV and eyebox
2.23.Transmission and eye glow - measures of AR's social acceptability
2.24.Optical aberrations present design challenges
2.25.The vergence-accommodation conflict
2.26.Optical 'building blocks' of an AR system
2.27.Potential Big Tech entries to the AR market (I)
2.28.Potential Big Tech entries to the AR market (II)
2.29.Bytedance and Pico - late to the metaverse race?
2.30.VR headsets: major OEMs
2.31.AR/MR headsets: major OEMs
3.1.Forecasting methodology
3.1.1.Methodology - device and component forecasts
3.1.2.Material requirement forecasting methodology
3.1.3.Methodology - material forecasting
3.2.Headset and overall optics forecasts
3.2.1.Overall AR and VR headset market forecast (device volume)
3.2.2.Overall AR and VR headset market forecast (revenue)
3.2.3.Overall AR and VR headset market forecast tables
3.2.4.Optics revenue forecasts
3.2.5.Optics revenue forecasts
3.3.Component forecasts
3.3.1.Notes on component forecasts
3.3.2.Wide FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.3.Wide FoV AR combiner technology forecast (headset volume)
3.3.4.Wide FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.5.Wide FoV AR combiner volume forecast by technology - headset volumes
3.3.6.Narrow FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.7.Narrow FoV AR combiner technology forecast (headset volume)
3.3.8.Narrow FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.9.Narrow FoV AR combiner lens volume forecast by technology - headset units
3.3.10.Total AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.11.Total AR combiner technology forecast (headset volume)
3.3.12.Total AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.13.Total FoV AR combiner lens volume forecast by technology - headset units
3.3.14.Total AR combiner revenue forecast
3.3.15.Total AR combiner revenue forecast
3.3.16.VR lens technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.17.VR lens technology forecast (headset volume)
3.3.18.VR lens technology forecast (adoption proportions)
3.3.19.VR lens volume forecast by technology (headset volume)
3.3.20.VR lens revenue forecast
3.3.21.VR lens revenue forecast
3.4.Material forecasts (high-level)
3.4.1.Material requirement forecasting methodology
3.4.2.Material forecasts (volume): AR combiners (wide and narrow FoV combined)
3.4.3.Material forecasts (mass): AR combiners (wide and narrow FoV combined)
3.4.4.Material forecasts (volume): AR combiners (wide and narrow FoV combined)
3.4.5.Material forecasts (mass): AR combiners (wide and narrow FoV combined)
3.4.6.AR combiners: identifying material opportunities (I)
3.4.7.AR combiners: identifying material opportunities (II)
3.4.8.AR combiners: identifying material opportunities (III)
3.4.9.Material forecasts (volume): VR lenses
3.4.10.Material forecasts (mass): VR lenses
3.4.11.Material forecasts (volume): VR lenses
3.4.12.Material forecasts (mass): VR lenses
3.4.13.Material forecasting: assumptions for geometric phase lens arrays
3.4.14.VR lenses: identifying material opportunities (I)
3.4.15.VR lenses: identifying material opportunities (II)
3.4.16.VR lenses: identifying material opportunities (III)
4.1.Introduction to waveguide/combiner technologies
4.1.1.The AR/MR optics technology landscape
4.1.2.Optical combiners: definition and classification
4.1.3.Common waveguide architectures
4.1.4.Common waveguide architectures: Operating principle and device examples
4.1.5.Common waveguides architectures: the influence of eyebox size
4.1.6.Waveguide substrate materials (I)
4.1.7.Waveguide substrate materials (II)
4.1.8.Comparison between waveguide methodologies
4.1.9.Big Tech and AR: All-in on diffractive waveguides?
4.1.10.Trouble at Microsoft? The future of Hololens devices and possible usage of holographic waveguides
4.1.11.Big Tech and AR: What about Meta?
4.1.12.Magic Leap: Back for round 2?
4.1.13.The industry landscape for optical combiners
4.2.Reflective/geometric waveguides
4.2.1.Introduction: reflective (geometric) waveguides
4.2.2.Reflective waveguides - benefits and drawbacks
4.2.3.Reflective waveguides: Manufacturing
4.2.4.Reflective waveguides: development potential
4.2.5.Summary: Current vs. potential future performance of reflective waveguides
4.2.6.Reflective Waveguides: SWOT Analysis
4.3.Diffractive waveguides
4.3.1.Introduction: diffractive waveguides
4.3.2.Diffractive waveguides: method of operation
4.3.3.Challenges of handling multiple colors with diffractive waveguides
4.3.4.Surface relief diffractive waveguides in Microsoft's HoloLens 2: ambitious design, unfortunate issues
4.3.5.The first commercial holographic waveguide: the Sony SED-100A
4.4.Surface relief gratings (SRG)
4.4.1.Introduction: surface relief grating waveguides
4.4.2.Surface relief waveguide example: HoloLens 1
4.4.3.Microsoft's butterfly waveguide combiner
4.4.4.Surface relief grating waveguide example: Magic Leap 1
4.4.5.Manufacturing techniques for surface relief grating waveguides
4.4.6.Manufacturing techniques for SRG waveguides: the next step
4.4.7.Manufacturing techniques for SRG waveguides: the next step
4.4.8.Wafer-scale alternatives to nano-imprint lithography
4.4.9.Manufacturing SRG waveguides - direct etching for high refractive index materials
4.4.10.Manufacturing SRGs - the future of direct etching
4.4.11.Diffractive Waveguides (SRG): SWOT Analysis
4.5.Volumetric holographic gratings (VHG)
4.5.1.Introduction: Volume holographic grating waveguides
4.5.2.Switchable holographic waveguides for resolution expansion
4.5.3.Fabricating volume holographic waveguides
4.5.4.Diffractive Waveguides (VHG): SWOT Analysis
4.6.Other combiner technologies
4.6.1.Freespace holographic optical element (HOE) combiners
4.6.2.HOE combiners: SWOT analysis
4.6.3.Conventional reflective combiners
4.6.4.Conventional reflective combiners - what use cases make sense?
4.6.5.Birdbath optics
4.6.6.Birdbath combiners: SWOT analysis
4.6.7.Bugeye combiners: SWOT analysis
4.6.8.Prism combiners: SWOT analysis
4.6.9.Pin mirror combiners
4.6.10.Pin mirror combiners: SWOT analysis
4.7.Combiners/waveguides: Technology benchmarking and adoption proportions
4.7.1.Benchmarking methodology: combiners/waveguides
4.7.2.Technology benchmarking: criteria for combiners
4.7.3.Tech benchmarking: AR combiners
4.7.4.AR combiners: weighted average benchmarking scores
4.7.5.The future of waveguide technology
4.7.6.Status and market potential of optical combiners
4.7.7.Optical combiners - what attributes are important?
4.7.8.Comparing waveguide types: 2022 vs. 2032
4.7.9.Manufacturability of waveguides - why is this expected to change?
4.7.10.Why reflective waveguides are likely dominate for immersive consumer AR/MR
4.7.11.What about non-waveguide combiners?
4.7.12.Forecasting adoption proportion for AR combiner technologies
4.7.13.Forecast dominant technologies: wide FoV AR/MR
4.7.14.Forecast dominant technologies: narrow FoV AR/MR
4.7.15.Wide FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
4.7.16.Narrow FoV AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
4.7.17.Total AR combiner technology forecast (adoption proportions)
4.8.Waveguides/combiners: Company profiles
4.8.1.AR combiner technology players
4.8.2.Lumus: Company overview
4.8.3.Lumus: SWOT Analysis
4.8.4.Optinvent: Company overview
4.8.5.Optinvent: SWOT Analysis
4.8.6.DigiLens: Company overview (I)
4.8.7.DigiLens: Company overview (II)
4.8.8.DigiLens: SWOT Analysis
4.8.9.Mira: Company overview
4.8.10.Mira: SWOT Analysis
4.8.11.TruLife Optics: Company overview
4.8.12.TruLife Optics: SWOT Analysis
4.8.13.Kura Technologies: Company Overview
4.8.14.Kura Technologies: SWOT Analysis
4.8.15.Vuzix: Company Overview
4.8.16.Vuzix: SWOT Analysis
4.8.17.Luminit/Holoptic: Company Overview (I)
4.8.18.Luminit/Holoptic: Company Overview (II)
4.8.19.Luminit/Holoptic: SWOT Analysis
4.8.20.WaveOptics: Company overview
4.8.21.WaveOptics/Snap: SWOT Analysis
4.8.22.LetinAR: Company overview
4.8.23.LetinAR: SWOT Analysis
4.8.24.NReal: Company overview
4.8.25.NReal: SWOT Analysis
4.8.26.NEDGlass: Company overview
4.8.27.NEDGlass: SWOT Analysis
4.8.28.Dispelix: Company Overview
4.8.29.Dispelix: SWOT Analysis
4.8.30.Lochn Optics: Company Overview
4.8.31.Lochn Optics: SWOT Analysis
4.8.32.ImagineOptix: Company Overview
4.8.33.Akonia - acquired by Apple
4.9.Ancillary lenses for waveguides
4.9.1.The AR/MR optics technology landscape
4.9.2.Why encapsulate waveguides with lenses?
4.9.3.Ancillary lenses fill gaps in waveguide capabilities
4.9.4.Static accommodation adjustment
4.9.5.Prescription correction: 3D printing offers an elegant solution
4.9.6.Correcting the vergence-accommodation conflict
4.10.Ancillary lenses for waveguides: company profiles
4.10.1.Luxexcel: Company Overview
4.10.2.Luxexcel: SWOT Analysis
4.10.3.Deep Optics: Company Overview
4.10.4.Deep Optics: SWOT Analysis
5.1.Introduction to VR lens technologies
5.1.1.The VR optics technology landscape
5.1.2.Lenses in VR
5.2.Established lenses: Fresnel lenses and conventional lenses
5.2.1.Fresnel Lenses vs. Singlets
5.2.2.Meta (Facebook)-patented hybrid Fresnel lens
5.2.3.Fresnel doublets
5.2.4.Users modifying headsets
5.2.5.Fresnel lenses: SWOT analysis
5.3.Emerging lens architectures
5.3.1.Where can emerging architectures offer value?
5.3.2.Emerging lens technologies by TRL
5.3.3.The vergence-accommodation conflict
5.3.4.Solutions to the vergence-accommodation conflict for VR
5.3.5.SWOT: VA conflict solutions (I)
5.3.6.SWOT: VA conflict solutions (II)
5.4.Geometric/Pancharatnam-Berry phase lenses
5.4.1.Introduction to geometric phase lenses
5.4.2.Flat lenses: diffractive optics, metasurfaces, liquid crystals and more
5.4.3.Why geometric phase lenses matter
5.4.4.What is geometric (Pancharatnam-Berry) phase?
5.4.5.Optically anisotropic materials and GPLs
5.4.6.Liquid crystals and switchable waveplates
5.4.7.Liquid crystals in GPLs
5.4.8.Metasurfaces: another method to apply geometric phase
5.4.9.Introduction to optical meta-surfaces
5.4.10.Harvard: Manufacturing optical metamaterials
5.4.11.Harvard: Applications for metalenses/metasurfaces
5.4.12.MetaLenz: Metasurfaces for distributing light and imaging
5.4.13.MetaLenz: Manufacturing metasurfaces via semiconductor fabrication
5.4.14.Metamaterial Technologies develop rolling mask lithography
5.4.15.Geometric phase lenses for VR and AR: production methods
5.5.Other emerging lens architectures
5.5.1.Polarization-based pancake lenses
5.5.2.Devices using pancake lenses
5.5.3.Tunable liquid crystal lenses
5.5.4.Meta/Oculus: combining emerging lens technologies
5.6.Lenses: technology benchmarking and adoption proportions
5.6.1.Benchmarking methodology
5.6.2.Lens technology benchmarking: criteria (I)
5.6.3.Lens technology benchmarking (II): special criterion
5.6.4.Tech benchmarking: VR lenses
5.6.5.VR lenses: weighted average benchmarking scores
5.6.6.Benchmarking: conclusions to inform forecasting
5.6.7.VR lens technology forecast (adoption proportions)
5.6.8.VR lens forecasting justification
5.6.9.Lenses: Company profiles
5.6.10.Lynx: Company overview (I)
5.6.11.Lynx: Company overview (II)
5.6.12.Lynx: SWOT Analysis (focusing on optics)
5.6.13.Limbak: Company overview
5.6.14.Limbak: SWOT Analysis
5.6.15.Kopin: Company overview
5.6.16.Kopin: SWOT Analysis
5.6.17.Metamaterial Technologies: Company overview
5.6.18.Metamaterial Technologies: SWOT Analysis
6.1.1.Key material opportunities in AR/VR
6.1.2.Advanced optical plastics - high volume with clear opportunities for innovation
6.1.3.Liquid crystal photopolymer materials - specialized materials for a new paradigm in optics
6.1.4.Photopolymers - enabling low-cost AR
6.1.5.Optic coatings in VR and AR
6.1.6.Anti-reflective coatings
6.1.7.Beam-splitter coatings
6.1.8.Metal mirror coatings
6.1.9.Companies: Optical Coatings
6.2.Materials: Company profiles
6.2.1.Inkron: Company overview
6.2.2.Inkron: SWOT Analysis
6.2.3.SCHOTT AG: Company overview
6.2.4.SCHOTT AG: SWOT Analysis
6.2.5.Denton Vacuum
6.2.6.AccuCoat inc
6.2.7.Optics Balzers

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幻灯片 313
预测 2032
已发表 May 2022
ISBN 9781915514011


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