Metamaterial Inc. a developer of high-performance functional materials and nanocomposites, today announced it has acquired specialized lens casting production equipment and intellectual property, including more than 70 patents, from Interglass Technology AG (Switzerland) for USD 800,000.
META will invest and expand its capabilities in design, development, and manufacturing of metaFUSION™ products for smart eyewear. This highly integrated solution combines embedded metamaterial and functional film elements with precision cast corrective lenses, which are required by over 50% of potential users in the market.
“One of the challenges in augmented reality (AR) eyeglasses, which Mark Zuckerberg so eloquently pointed out as a category killer, is to ensure that light from the AR display does not make the wearer look like an automaton, due to user-display-lit eye glow – especially at night. META successfully pioneered laser and security eyeglass filtering, to combat powerful pen pointers, for our customers like Airbus. Under a new brand name, metaFUSION™, we are now applying that proven technology and other functionality directly encapsulated into eyeglasses, to compliment waveguide-based displays similar to HoloLens®,” noted Jonathan Waldern, Chief Technology Officer. “The AR eyeglass display is one of the most complex engineering challenges of our time, and only advanced metamaterials, incorporated into the eyeglass lenses, will likely provide an acceptable solution.”
“Any augmented and virtual reality eyewear solution, whether from a major OEM or a startup, will need to address the need for prescription lenses. metaFUSION™ will combine the Interglass platform with META’s technology to offer embedded metamaterial solutions for on demand precision casting of prescription lenses. In addition, the associated patents would be valuable to any company participating in this eyewear market. On the same production system, we will be able to offer embedded functionality such as combiners, waveguides, and eye tracking sensors. These same integrated lenses can also enable much more compact HMDs for virtual reality,” said Gardner Wade, Chief Product Officer.
Interglass Assets Include Specialized Equipment, More Than 70 Patents
Combining the technology, equipment, and IP from Interglass with META’s metamaterial design and nanofabrication platform is expected to provide more elegant, powerful, and fully integrated solutions across a range of HMD applications. META is acquiring from Interglass Technology AG (in liquidation) lens casting equipment and related workstations and software, tools, and test equipment, along with intellectual property including patents, trademarks, know-how, technical data, proprietary software, designs, and trade secrets. Interglass has more than 70 international patents in the field of casting processes for high-quality plastic lenses or other optical components based on UV curing acrylics. Moreover, the Interglass process is highly sustainable, which will help to support META’s sustainability initiatives.
metaFUSION™ Benefits: Performance and Sustainability
metaFUSION™ lenses are directly cast into the final correction using a library of more than 2,000 prescription molds. This requires significantly less material, energy and water compared to conventional production, which involves milling and grinding an oversized lens blank. The metaFUSION™ production process requires a fraction of the energy. Typically, a corrective lens is cured in about 50 hours at >100° C – the metaFUSION™ technology just needs 10 seconds. Since metaFUSION™ lenses are poured and do not need grinding, no water is required in the production process. The metaFUSION™ coating process, based on plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), is environmentally friendly and achieves superior scratch and abrasion resistance without using wet chemistry.
metaFUSION™ allows functional metamaterial films to be directly encapsulated within a prescription lens, supporting applications in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) as well as a range of features including integrated see-through dimming to manage battery life, eye tracking to optimize resolution, latency and 5G data bandwidth, focusing and eye glow management. These films not only perform optical origami but combine to form a solid-state lens able to withstand the shock and environmental conditions for everyday work or consumer use.