US Army contracts Vuzix for Waveguide optics development

27 July 2012 (Last Updated July 27th, 2012 03:40)

The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's (RDECOM) has awarded phase I of a multiphase contract to Vuzix for the development of a wide field of view (WFOV) see through waveguide (STWG) system.

The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's (RDECOM) has awarded phase I of a multiphase contract to Vuzix for the development of a wide field of view (WFOV) see-through waveguide (STWG) system.

Awarded by the Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate of Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), the undisclosed contract aims to explore the possibility of supporting waveguide optics with FOVs in excess of 50° and a path to full colour operation.

The phase I includes two options, and under the first, Vuzix will develop and deliver a full colour capable, 30° FOV STWG system as a basic demonstration of the principles of waveguide technology.

"When it comes to see-through optics, the combination of these two features is critical for the coming needs of personal heads-up displays and augmented reality applications."

The second component represents a trade-off study of two independent approaches, under which the company will solve the WFOV problem.

Vuzix president Paul Travers said that the STWG system would be based on Vuzix waveguide technology, comprising a 1.4mm-thick transparent blade of glass or polymer, which is used as the primary lens in see -hrough video glasses similar to regular sunglasses.

"Vuzix waveguide technology is unique compared to competitive solutions, in that it is capable of producing very wide fields of view with full colour operation," Travers added.

"When it comes to see-through optics, the combination of these two features is critical for the coming needs of personal heads-up displays and Augmented Reality applications."

The army is expected to award follow-on phases of the three-phase contract, which will cover deliveries of working prototypes of one of the two options, according to the company.

The STWG will be used in helmet-mounted queuing systems, as well as other head-mounted display applications, to provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness in difficult environments.