CREAL’s breakthrough AR display: real depth with a classic lens!

Augmented reality is destined to change the way we live. But unfortunately, current technologies still do not offer a correct visual experience, holding back the future of AR glasses. They are uncomfortable to use as they give most users a feeling of eye strain and nausea. On top of it, the obtrusive lenses and their unwanted light artifacts affect the overall aesthetic and social acceptance of such devices. To fix this, CREAL has developed a unique and much-needed AR display that finally provides complete visual comfort: natural focal depth, fully transparent aesthetic lenses and prescription. This is a crucial step in bringing AR to reality.

“Unsatisfactory optical performance has been a key factor keeping AR/MR devices from the mass market. Improvements in XR optics have the ability to enable more use-cases, draw in more users and push XR devices towards ubiquity.”

IDTechEx Research

After over two years of behind-the-scenes work, CREAL unveils the first-ever AR display combining light field with normal lenses. Our unique display creates digital imagery that genuinely represents how light behaves in the real world, providing a true-to-life depth perception for the human eye. More than that, our light field display now also enables customizable prescription corrections with classical and completely transparent lenses. While almost all AR glasses providers are lumbered with trade-offs between focal depth, image resolution and lens aesthetic, CREAL’s newest display finally enables an AR visual experience that “has it all”:

✅ Correct image depth, offering a healthy and natural visual experience at any distance, unlocking a multitude of AR applications

✅ Entirely transparent lens without light artifacts on the surface, enabling natural eye contact and a conventional aesthetic look

✅ Compatibility with curved and prescription lenses, providing correction for the real and digital worlds and bringing AR experience to everyone

This is a crucial step towards the advancement of consumer-grade AR glasses, as it eliminates the commonly felt eye strain and nausea, the impossibility for most people (70% of people wear glasses) to see the digital content correctly, and the long-known aesthetic burden of light artifacts and lens opacity, which all prevent the wide acceptance of AR glasses. CREAL’s unique display technology finally provides AR glasses manufacturers with a complete patented display solution ready to work.

“Eye glow (in AR headsets/glasses) is a major issue for distraction and social acceptability.”

Karl Guttag

The winning combination

Offering visual comfort along with lens aesthetics requires the right combination of projection system and lens. Today, few companies (e.g. Microsoft, Magic Leap, Nreal) succeed in providing AR devices (glasses and headsets) with some of the conventional parameters, such as large field of view, acceptable resolution and large eyebox (the region from which the eye can see the virtual image), but miss focal depth preventing natural immersion. Others (e.g. North and Intel Vaunt project) focus on the form-factor, the transparency and aesthetics of the lens, enabling almost normal-looking glasses, at the expense of natural immersion too. In a third category, there are companies (e.g. VividQ, Avegant, Lightspace Lab) that enable a more correct focal depth in the digital image, but sacrifice something else – image quality, compute requirements, or depth resolution. However, until today, none of them combined all the non-negotiable qualities which we present here.

You can read our article for more information on lens solutions.

“What we think is that in order to succeed in the smart eyewear and the eyeglasses, we have to take into account, as an input, as a necessary condition for success, the prescription and the fashion and style of the eyewear. Otherwise, it would stay a niche. It is very important to have that in mind.“

Denis Cohen-Tannoudji, SVP, EssilorLuxottica (Oakley, RayBan, Persol, …)

A display with compatibility factor at heart

CREAL has developed its display with a high compatibility factor, avoiding unneeded hardware complexity or high costs. Our system is compatible with conventional ophthalmic lenses. Only the holographic film has to be added on top of the classical lens, meaning that the aesthetics of the outer surface curvature and the corrective function of the inner surface curvature are preserved. The corresponding prescription is added digitally to the virtual content, making the real and digital worlds optically identical.

Even though the display system is radically new and its components proprietary, the fundamental technologies to make them are well-proven and were successfully scaled in the past, making our light field solution compatible with the existing manufacturing ecosystem. The technology is also compatible with existing 3D rendering software, without the need for considerable computing overhead.

CREAL’s light field optical engine (electronics are not shown here: the driver chip will be part of the SoC).

Interested in getting a demonstration?

Come to see us at Display Week (May 23rd–25th) and AWE (May 31st – June 2nd) where we will present our new light field display prototype.