A South Korea-based startup promises to make AR glasses look like ordinary glasses. LetinAR developed an innovative optical system that makes AR glasses less bulky and better performing. Its concept has recently won $3.6 million in Series A funding. Kakao Ventures and Naver Corporation, two major internet companies in South Korea, along with three other Korean venture capitals, led the funding.
PinMR™ – A New Concept of Augmented Reality Optical Lens
The founders of LetinAR have one key goal in mind. And that is to solve the key problems that stand in the way of mass adoption of augmented reality. In their opinion, the number one issue is hardware related.
AR glasses are difficult and expensive to make. They also have a bulky look and offer unsatisfactory performances due to the narrow field of view (FOV) and shallow depth of field (DOF). These constraints put limits to a truly immersive experience.
The optical system for AR glasses that LetinAR developed uses the “Pinhole Effect” which is applied to very small mirrors. These mirrors are then embedded into a regular eyeglass lens and guide the light directly into the user’s pupil. The mirrors are not perceived by the human eye, because they are smaller than the pupil.
“LetinAR PinMR™ optical solution boasts much more superior performance than existing counterparts. We believe that PinMR Lens will fundamentally change the way people communicate in the near term,” said the CEO of LetinAR, Jaehyeok Kim.
Bringing Augmented Reality Closer to Perceived Reality
LetinAR’s PinMR™ lens offers a 66% wider FOV compared to the average AR glasses models on the market. Also, the lens allows users to see holographic images and real world images at the same time, without blurring effects or dizziness.
According to the company, the LetinAR PinMR™ optical system is easy and affordable to manufacture. They believe that these two advantages, as well as the improved user experience, represent a turning point for the AR technology.
Here’s what actual viewing through PinMR™ looks like:
The financial backers in the Series A funding believe the same thing. “Several tech giants have tried to build AR glasses. However, due to the complicated optical system they employ, no one has succeeded in coming up with AR glasses with a look of a pair of ordinary glasses,” explained Gi-Joon Kim, partner of Kakao Ventures.
He thinks that “LetinAR has solved this problem and is ready to completely transform this growing industry”.
A Proven Concept Ready to Take Off
LetinAR has already demonstrated the potential of the PinMR™ technology at the Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Convention trade fairs this year.
In 2019, the company will bring the optical lens for augmented reality glasses to CES and MWC. LetinAR also plans to start providing samples to manufacturers of AR glasses. They will be able to check the potential of this technology and explore ways of incorporating it into their products.