BMW partners on reality display

News release

DigiLens, Inc. announced a groundbreaking waveguide display for motorcycle HUDs (Head-Up Displays) at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. The technology will be showcased using a real life motorcycle simulator in the BMW Group booth, to demonstrate how the technology leverages Augmented Reality (AR) to create a completely immersive, mixed reality experience for the rider. DigiLens intends to offer the motorcycle helmet display to OEM partners within 2016, after rigorous environmental and safety testing.

With the new DigiLens HUD, vital information is seen through a wide field-of-view waveguide optic, fundamentally providing the rider with an enhanced field of vision without disrupting concentration on the road ahead. The waveguide display is a new class of display essential to all AR developers. It combines crystal clear transparency with a high brightness, color information overlay. After ten years of nanomaterials and holographic optical development, DigiLens has delivered performance exceeding its larger automotive and aerospace HUD offerings, but at a fraction of the size and price.

BMW Partner Demonstration
DigiLens is launching its innovative HUD at CES by partnering with motorcycle company BMW Motorrad. Together, the two companies will demonstrate how the breakthrough display can transform the rider experience.

The lightweight waveguide optic magnetically clips into the helmet, which contains a tiny image generator. The waveguide optic sits in front of the rider’s eye, avoiding any line of sight disruption and accommodating eyeglasses. The holographically “printed” waveguide optic is so lightweight, simple and easy to manufacture it is almost disposable.

Features such as localized speed, traffic warnings, phone communications, engine management, fuel, trip and turn indicators, rear and front recording action cameras all benefit from being seamlessly displayed “on-demand,” without distracting the rider or requiring visual refocus (the waveguide optic focuses at infinity).

“Beyond night vision, transportation, enterprise and gaming, we believe we have the key AR display technology for hands-free wearable solutions like HUDs and eyeglasses-type solutions,” said Jonathan Waldern, DigiLens founder and CEO. “This is the gateway device to enable a range of next generation mobile access and cloud services.”

“Until now, the perception of the industry was that current HUD approaches did not meet the needs of motorcycle riders. The introduction of the DigiLens HUD represents a sea change,” said Chris Chinnock, Owner of Insight Media, a premier market research firm for display technologies. “With the expanded field of view, long range focus point and intelligent rider cues, the DigiLens HUD may prove to be the new standard adopted by motorcycle manufacturers everywhere.”

DigiLens has partnered extensively with government, military and aerospace customers on product and manufacturing development, which has resulted in a new color 3mm-thin display waveguide positioned just in front of the eye. It is especially significant for motorcycle helmets due to minimal field of view disturbance, safe operation and rugged construction. The long-range focal point is an industry-first, and enabled by printing complex holographic diffractive optical structures into the display waveguide itself, eliminating the need for bulky projection optical systems. The DigiLens HUD rear-view capability expands a rider’s field of vision in ways not previously possible, allowing them to process a 360-view of traffic and road conditions.

For the first time, the bike and helmet embedded computer systems are seamlessly networked to deliver time-critical rider information in a way that is safer, smarter and less distracting than glancing down at displays. This compares to prior motorcycle HUD attempts which required riders to look down and focus into a bulky blocking display in the base of the helmet, which, from a safety perspective, was not much better than looking down at handlebar mounted iPhones or tank-mounted instruments. To be safe, the rider must not only always look and stay focused ahead but be able to process vital information in the context of real life surroundings. Like the F-35 advanced fighter, it’s likely in the future the helmet enabled HUD display will become essential to the bike’s enjoyment and safe operation.

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