Kopin Focuses More Strongly on Eyeglass Display Solutions

Augmented/Virtual Reality – We stopped by the Kopin booth at Display Week 2014 to talk about some of the company’s business strategy changes, as well as its products and concepts currently in development. Historically, Kopin has supplied transmissive, high-density LCD microdisplays for various head-mounted display and augmented reality and virtual reality solutions. While the company’s products are more consumer oriented, it also has some military contracts.

In 2013, Kopin sold its III-V business for $75 million, and the company currently looks at itself as a start-up because it changed its strategy and now focuses more on mobile and other products (as opposed to components), including wearable solutions.

Since last year, the company went from a microdisplay that was in the order of 500 nits or so to one that can actually output about 5,000 nits at the display level itself. Kopin utilized light-blocking technology at the device level to achieve these results. They’ve also put in higher brightness LEDs.

We tested out an eyewear display at the booth that connected wirelessly and remotely with a smartphone. While connected to the smartphone, the glasses displayed a clear image and featured about a 10.5-degree field of view. With a resolution of 428 x 240 and 18 mm eye relief, the image was very bright. This is what they call their pupil display as it sits close enough to the eye that it’s actually smaller than the eye’s pupil, allowing the collimated light to go directly into the eye to create what looks like an augmented display, even though it is not transparent.

The military and industrial headset Kopin showed off in its booth was the Golden-I, which provides a wide field of view at about 20 degrees. The device is voice activated, command driven and fully integrated with tablets, smartphones, and PCs.

Kopin plans to continue working with customers to develop SDKs, software, applications and supply chain and component design — including audio. Kopin does not want to manufacture the designs but instead aid its customers in creating the products through reference designs. – Chris Chinnock