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Consumer Electronics

Many different applications fall under consumer electronics, most commonly known are daily electronics such as cameras, mobile phones, gaming consoles, and of course displays. Within the past few years, an emerging trend within the consumer electronics industry is the rise of AR/VR systems. With the current digital world, the need for micro optics is growing, as they are a staple manufacturing component in these electronics. 

The Rise of Custom Optics in Consumer Electronics 

Due to the growth of NextGeneration device development, even the most simplistic of systems can have multiple optics, these can include pancake lenses, beam-splitting prisms and mirrors. More complex devices emerging require more complex shapes and surfaces that can typically have a weight limit, which can limit the possible types of optical materials used.   

Over the past 20 years the technological feat has created an almost completely digital world, and new products are constantly in development. New optical designs are created daily, and are unable to be purchased from bigger mass production companies. Which is why the ability to have custom, complex designs produced can be a challenge for many research & design teams; which is why our ability to make lightweight, fast prototypes aid in the development of this broad industry. For more information on our polymer optics, click here

Due to multiple components being present in electronics and the rise of more sophisticated, complicated technology systems, weight is a huge factor in component decision making. Polymer optics have chosen to be popular within consumer electronics due to their lightweight materials and cost-effectiveness. Many components for NextGeneration products also require ductility and easier design abilities: both elements are present in polymer materials. The process in which optics are made also directly contributes to the design possibilities, and with Addoptics’ manufacturing hybrid process of 3D printing and traditional manufacturing optical  design possibilities are endless and can be as complex as needed.

Industry Applications

Optics are staple components of many different consumer technologies. New capabilities and designs of optics are needed to meet the market demands for increased quality, innovations and modernization within consumer electronics. Companies are constantly researching, developing and producing NextGen products to meet the constant industry growth and competition. 

Smartphone cameras, for instance, have a highly complex lens system despite their small size and simplistic visible-features. Ten years ago, cell phone cameras used about 3 optical components; today, their high resolution requires the intricate design of more than 6 elements. The demand for improved optical performance is insatiable, therefore, the lens system is continuously evolving, making room for additional optical components with advanced optical capabilities. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality: a.k.a the next big thing in consumer electronics. These highly complex systems are head-mounted displays with technology that offers a three-dimensional visual and aural experience to immerse the user or adds virtual features to a user’s surroundings. These new, compound systems are already on the market, but the industry is continuously investing in research and development to increase capabilities and user experience. The announcement of the to-be-released Metaverse software in 2021 has propelled the industry’s demand for new innovations substantially and R&D investments have soared to evade different challenges. 

Major challenges that come with the development of AR/VR devices are found within requirements for human vision. These challenges include Field of View (FoV), eye-box angular resolution and dynamic range. Optics are key in developing new systems to battle these challenges and create highly advanced user vision comfort; catadioptric freeform prisms have become popular for these reasons. 

For more information, our blog post, has more information on the rise of AR/VR and the role optical prototyping has within this industry boom. 

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