IC11 Kopin Adds Battery & Voice Technology to Displays

Kopin Hong ChoiDr Hong Choi is CTO of Kopin which is concentrating on AR and VR markets. The company has developed a lot of technology and has 300 patents. It has $90 million in cash and no debt. The company believes it is the leader in the wearable headset displays market. It has wins from Intel/Recon and Fat Shark (drone racing – which is said to be growing fast) in consumer. In the military market it supplies Rockwell Collins, Elbit, Thales, Raytheon, DRS and BAE . In enterprise it supplies Motorola, Fujitsu, Google, Vuzix and the Scott Safety firefighters’ helmet. The company is also now developing its own headsets.

The company sees the wearable electronics market starting to take off. Most of the sensory organs of humans is around the head, so the head is an obvious place to put sensors. However, it is hard to develop good headsets and they also need to be fashionable and attractive to buy and use.

There are a number of challenges in making good headset products. Users want a wide field of view and big image, but in a small device and that is tricky, but Kopin has developed this. It has two different field of views 10.5 deg for 432 x 240 or 15 deg for 640 x 360. You can have a bright image in sunshine, but because of the efficient optics, power consumption is low.

Kopin display module

Kopin makes transmissive LCD microdisplays based on single crystal silicon backplanes which allows high performance. This concept allows simpler optics and it can reach more than 5000 cd/m² and the company has shipped more than 35 million displays and modules.

The firm developed a ‘whisper voice’ solution and the company has a patented voice extraction filter using two microphones (one closer than the other to the mouth) and that helps the company pick out the voice from background noise. The technology works with any speech engine. Choi showed an impressive demonstration video of using the speech engine in a very noisy setting.

Kopin also needs a high energy density battery, so it has worked with Hitachi Maxell to develop a SiO-C battery which has much higher capacity. This kind of battery typically has problems with the electrode swelling, but this issue has been solved, Choi said.

Solos is a new sunglasses set for cyclists that weighs less than 60 gms. The system uses a cellphone for collecting the data and showing the display content on the glasses. The company is partnered with US Cycling and the feedback from Sarah Hammer (2016 World Champion) has been very positive.