Augmented Reality (AR) looks wondrous in movies (for instance, the screen on Iron Man’s helmet). However, the current technology is yet to catch up with the movies, and trying on the AR smart glasses in real life could be a heavy, uncomfortable, and dizzying experience. The attempts to make these experiences extra light, comfortable, and high-quality has finally bore fruit – the CEO of LetinAR, Kim Jae-hyuk (Department of Industrial Engineering, 4th year) is the hero.
LetinAR, co-founded by Kim and his friend and the Chief Technology Officer Ha Jeong-hun in 2016, is a start-up company that invented and produced the AR lenses. The company has recently received investments worth 3.6 million USD from Kakao Ventures, DSC Investment, Korea Asset Investment Securities, Naver Corporation, and Platinum Tech Investment, all thanks to the self-developed 'Pin Mirror (also known as PinMRTM) lens' which has been acknowledged for its phenomenal breakthrough in the AR-lens techniques.
Kim explained that the original wearable AR smart glasses had many problems. “The glasses were too big, screens were too small, or out of focus. On top of these, they were hard to manufacture.” So Kim came up with a different approach, using the pin-mirror-effect technique, in which the microdisplay light is projected directly to the eye lens via a mirror tinier than a pupil. Whereas the former lenses blurred the image when the object was too near (similar to how the human eyes blur out anything that gets too near to the pupils), the new method allows the lens to stay in focus regardless of closeness, as well as of individual eyesight. Along with the more comfortable vision, the lenses became smaller, closely resembling the ordinary glasses and had a much increased productivity. “During this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, many renowned scholars tested the lens, leaving truly impressed by its performance. They said billions of won along with the complex and latest technologies invested could not overcome the limitations of the AR lens. What we have done is provide a simple, yet powerful solution to it all,” recalled Kim.
They expect to have a formal announcement of the completed technology for full-fledged commercialization next January. “AR is yet an unexplored field, but the future seems bright,” assured Kim. “Just like how we have moved from desktops to laptops, and from laptops to phones, we constantly seek portability. As with the phones, the AR glasses will lead the future trend, and they will be absorbed in our daily lives.” Thus, the goal of LetinAR is to initiate that trend, added Kim. Indeed, it is a matter of time until we will all be wearing the light and comfortable 100-inch-screen on our eyes with the help of LetinAR glasses.
Lim Ji-woo firstname.lastname@example.org Photos by Park Geun-hyung