Development of Low-Cost Augmented Reality Head Mounted Display

Period of Performance: 06/29/2009 - 04/30/2010


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Optical Research Associates
Pasadena, CA 91107
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Rochester
518 Hylan, River Campusbox 27014
Rochester, NY 14627
Institution POC


The ORA/ODAlab optical design team has proposed to design the next generation of mobile Augmented Reality (AR) Head Mounted Display (HMD) optics, for training applications, based on an OLED microdisplay currently being developed by Emagin (a committed Phase II supplier). We will increase the resolution and field of view from the 25 degrees currently achieved by most sunglasses form factor Head Mounted Display (HMD) to 40 degrees, while meeting the challenging weight, brightness, and cost goals of this program. We are proposing to simultaneously explore three different design paths. The first and leading optical design path will be a hybrid of the recent tilted and decentered design forms merged with the use of freeform optical surfaces. Tilted and decentered design forms have successfully covered horizontal fields of view in excess of 65 degrees at SXGA resolution with an LCOS display (e.g. L3/ORA AHMD). The second path was inspired by a recent technology breakthrough by Sony Corporation, presented at the SID conference in 2008. This technology involves the use of volume holographic optical elements. The third path is designed to leverage recent developments in 6-axis diamond turning of optical surfaces, which allows the use of intentionally comatic optical surfaces.