January 28, 2019

Look smart: Optical design fuels advancements in smart glasses

Look smart: Optical design fuels advancements in smart glasses

If this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) had anything to say about smart glasses, it was that they are finally a reality. For example, you can pre-order a consumer version of Vuzix Corporation’s industrial Blade smart glasses for $1,000, which come with Amazon Alexa as well as access to the Blade Developer Center for creating your own apps. (Source: Wired) The glasses won a CES 2019 Innovation Award, reinforcing the potential of augmented reality glasses for manufacturing and consumers alike.

Optics are key to smart glasses

Smart glasses can do anything from projecting weather forecasts over a landscape to recording what the wearer is looking at to projecting automotive diagrams to a technician real-time while he/she is working on a car. Smart glasses are wearable computers, with processors, storage, and connectivity, in addition to the optical elements: lenses, sensors, and one or more cameras. Putting all of that in a wearable package requires sophisticated optomechanical design. Optical design software can help get smart glasses to market and with more confidence.

Advances in optical fabrication and measurement have enabled a new generation of aspheric and freeform optical surfaces that are making smart glasses possible. Freeform optical design software and virtual prototyping are accelerating the progress in bringing these glasses to market. For example, OpticStudio enables optical engineers to minimize stray light in smart glasses in augmented reality so that the user doesn’t experience eye fatigue. It also enables engineers to optimize for crisp and undistorted real-world images, and calculate system size, volume, and weight during system optimization of an optical design. Learn more >

For mechanical engineers who design housing for smart glasses in CAD software, LensMechanix enables you to troubleshoot changes in spot size, beam clipping, or image contamination, all of which are critical to smart glasses design. Mechanical engineers can access the complete design data of optical systems designed in OpticStudio and start designing the mechanical envelope right away. You can then validate the mechanical design, running a full ray trace, troubleshooting the measurement for spot size, beam clipping, or image contamination by clicking the corresponding button on the Optical Performance Summary in the software. Pinpointing problems within a familiar Creo or SOLIDWORKS environment allows you to easily fix issues before building a physical prototype—which can save time, budget, and headaches.

Get hands on training

Whether you’re looking for an introductory course for first-time users or advanced capabilities for experts, Zemax courses will enhance your team’s productivity by helping them master the tools available in LensMechanix and OpticStudio, like troubleshooting the measurement for issues that could impact your smart glasses design. Led by our exceptional team of optical and mechanical engineers, our training is designed to be hands-on to teach the most useful tips and techniques. Learn more >

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