Covestro and North cooperate in the development of smart glasses
Growing market for augmented reality devices
Augmented Reality (AR) is currently one of the hottest development topics in consumer electronics. This topic has already been hyped as the next game changer like the smartphone in our daily life. Smart glasses are the entrance step towards AR devices.
Canada-based start-up North is a pioneer in this market by launching the first commercial smart glasses called Focals® that look like everyday glasses. One of the many challenges with developing such complex devices is not sacrificing form factor for functionality, thus maintaining the appearance of standard glasses. Covestro’s Bayfol® HX products offer cutting edge solutions to enable high performing yet design-appealing smart glass products.
Since the inception of Focals®, Covestro has been the strategic supplier of tailored materials for North’s diffractive optical solutions. “North is engaging with Covestro in development efforts involving the use of certain Covestro customized photopolymer films, to obtain excellent optical performance and outstanding cosmetic appearance in seethrough AR applications on North devices,” said Stefan Alexander, Vice President, Advanced R&D at North.
Extended battery life through photopolymer films
A challenge with all mobile computing platforms is battery life, which Covestro’s photopolymer helps maximize. "In mobile applications where battery life is decisive, low energy consuming devices can be realized with Bayfol® HX film," explained Dr. Friedrich-Karl Bruder, Head of Application Development Holographic LightGuiding at Covestro. “This is due to the distinct feature of volume holograms recorded into our film that allows a high diffraction efficiency for light guiding and light redirection which can be tuned to almost 100 percent.”
Thanks to its long-standing expertise, Covestro is well positioned to provide innovative solutions in holography technology and photopolymer chemistry. "Our experience built over the past decade enables solutions for specific requirements,” said Thomas Roelle, Head of Raw Materials for Holographic LightGuiding at Covestro. “Covestro’s infrastructure is set up to translate complex optical needs into viable material solutions on an industrial scale."
Focals® are a pair of custom-built smart glasses with a transparent, holographic display that only the wearer can see. This display floats an arm’s length in front of you and connects you to the people you care about, the information you need and the places you want to go. Focals® let you see and respond to texts, get turn-by-turn directions, check the weather, request a taxi, talk to Amazon Alexa and more — seamlessly and immediately. The glanceable and minimalist interface gives you control over what’s happening in your digital world without pulling you away from what’s in front of you. Starting at 599 USD, Focals® come in three colors (Black, Tortoise, and Grey Fade) and offer either prescription or non-prescription lenses. Each shipment includes Loop, Charging Case and Sun Clips.
North builds products that change the way you engage with our world. North’s latest product, Focals® was announced in October 2018 and is now sold in Flagship Showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto, in Pop-up Showrooms around the country and via the new Focals® Showroom App. Founded in 2012 by three graduates of the University of Waterloo's mechatronics engineering program, Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant, North has grown to a world-leading team of engineers, researchers, designers and creators. North has raised over $170M USD to date from investors including the Amazon Alexa Fund, Intel Capital and more.
Find more information at www.bynorth.com.
With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2018.
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