I’m Back

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note today to say that I no longer at Navdy and I now have some time to get back to posting on this blog.   All the travel and work at a start-up was pretty all consuming.

I have some idea for some topics particularly related to the various head mounted display goings on from Google “Glass” to Microsoft’s recent “HoloLens.”   I also want to write more on the computer and game system history.   I like answering questions and would like suggestions for topics so please feel free to write.

The one thing I ask is that there be no questions directly related to Navdy as it would not be appropriate for me to answer them.   It is not going to make good reading for me to have to repeatedly reply with “no comment” or the like.   Almost everything else related to technology, projection, head mounted displays, lasers, computer/video-game history is fair game.

Oh yes one more thing, I am available again for consulting work.


Karl Guttag
Karl Guttag
Articles: 244


  1. Hi Karl,

    Glad you are back. It appears that Microvision still holds patents on retinal display and it appears that HoloLens uses this type of technology–any thoughts there?

    • Thanks,

      As far as Microvision and patents, I think you may be making too much of this. There is a lot of confusion about a “retinal display” which can mean any type of display that images/focuses directly on the retina as opposed to say one that projects a focused image on a screen that you then look at.

      I have looked at several of the HoloLens related patents and all of them I have looked at so far show a panel type and they specifically mention in for example patent application US 2014/0368537 transmissive LCD, DLP, LCOS as well as Mirasol® and Microvision to cover all the bases of the known small display devices. I’m 99% sure Microsoft is currently using a panel, most likely LCOS.

      I plan on discussing in more detail in an article that the term “HoloLens” is pretty much a misnomer/misdirection/marketing-fluff. They appear to be doing conventional bi-ocular 3-D glasses using two displays (one for each eye) but then tying what they present in the virtual world based on head tracking and image recognition to what the person is looking at in the “real world” by adjusting the size/perspective based on where the person is looking. They also appear to be using fairly well known light guide technology for a flat or curved but comparatively thin lens/combiner (compared to the relatively thick beam splitter used by Google Glass). As far as I know, none of this is all that new, but they are trying to do it better with a big name company behind it.


      • Hi Karl,

        I’m interested in the HPU of Hololens. When i searched for the “Microsoft Hologram” on Google there is such a patent”MULTIPLEXED HOLOGRAM TILING IN A WAVEGUIDE DISPLAY” on the top, whether you think this is the very technology used in the Hololens as the display system? If so, how could it change the the Bragg Grating in time under the order of processing unit? Really curious about that.

        Thank you!

      • Alex

        I think you may be reading too much into Microsoft’s use of the word “Hologram.” The patent your referenced appears to use a holographic film as part of a waveguide and as far as I know is not by Microsoft (although I have taken the time to trace down the inventors).

        From what I have found and seen so far, I think (and believe many would agree) that Microsoft is using the term “hologram” as more of a “marketing concept” than what most scientist would call a “hologram.” The marketing concept is further driven home with the term “Hololens.” Based on what I have found so far, it appears that Hololens user rather conventional microdisplay devices (most likely LCOS or transmissive LCDs) to produce separate images for each eye like has been done for decades in 3-D stereo head mounted displays rather than computing holograms. They then use a waveguide to give a wide field of view through a relatively thin lens (compared to say the thick beam splitter used by Google Glass), this is also nothing new.

        What Microsoft seems to be calling a “holgoraphic image” is in using 3-D head, motion, and vision tracking along with camera feedback to try and “lock” the image the use sees in space in the real world. They using this information to produce the stereoscopic information for each eye. I based this conclusion on looking at patents applications by Alex Kipman who has been quoted in a number of articles as one of the inventors of Hololens (see article here).

        I’m basing this conclusion on several recent (2014) patent applications by Alex Kipman that are quoted from below to show how they appear to be defining the word “hologram” which in my opinion is very different from what the rest of the scientific community would call a “hologram.”

        Quoting from US Patent Application 20140368537

        Embodiments of the present technology relate to a system and method for multi-user interaction with virtual objects, also referred to herein as holograms.”

        Quoting from US Patent Application 20140198017
        Based on the context of executing software, for example, a gaming application, the system can project images of virtual objects, sometimes referred to as virtual images or holograms, on the display that are viewable by the person wearing the see-through display device while that person is also viewing real world objects through the display.


  2. I know that you and Microvision haven’t seen eye to eye on things in the past. Given that past performance is not indicative of future results and that the company has managed to survive so far, what do you think of Microvision’s future these days?

    Thanks for your perspective.

    • Microvision has done a remarkable job of survival. They are probably the epitome of what I call a “walking dead company,” a company that is able to raise enough money to stay alive but which never has a profitable product. Surviving on continually raising money is not the definition of success (except maybe for the people, particularly the executives, that keep getting a salary). Microvision has survived for over 21 years as a “startup” with the promise that next year will be the big year. They have plays “Lucy and Charlie Brown with the Football” for almost as long as Charles Schultz.

      I suggest you go back and read my “Soothsayer Articles” from way back in 2011. In particular the first one here. Back in 2011, Microvision was trying to imply that they would have high volume production in 2012 when I said it was flatly not possible, their response was to label me a “Soothsayer”. Here we are 3 years later and where are they? While lasers have improved they are still far from being cost effective in high volume systems, the systems are bigger, are less power efficient, and the image quality is lousy compared to LCDs, LCOS, and DLP(R).


      • Thanks for the response.

        I’ve read the soothsayer articles. Does your response mean that you feel confident that they’re not going to be around at some point in the future? And, if you do think they will be around, what will they be doing? i.e. Will the find a niche or two to stay alive? Or, do you think it’s possible they’ll find some way to thrive?

      • Microvision has been able to keep alive for 21 years and there is always the chance that they could totally change directions, get new management, and do something else. There is also a chance that some rich company that has “more money than brains” could buy them but this has not happened in 21 years. There is also a chance in poker that you could throw all your cards in and then draw four ace’s or go to the convenience store and buy lottery tickets, or keep playing the slot machines in Vegas and hit the jackpot, but none of these are a good financial strategy. All I can say what I know to be true and think it likely to happen.

        What I do know is that in general the prospects for projectors in general has been going down for years. Just look around and you see LCD screens of all sizes everywhere from conference rooms, small meeting rooms, to cell phones, tablets, “phablets,” and smart watches. I wrote about this in my article on “What Every Happened to embedding projectors in phones?“.

        If anything, each year embedding projectors in phones and the like gets less likely so then you are left asking, what else could use a laser projector and how would it compare to other projection technologies? And then you have to ask how much money would there be for a component company such as Microvision? Basically, Microvision’s potential appears to me to at best get a small piece, of a small market, and then only get a small piece of the value of that small piece.

        I know some people will bring up near eye displays like Google Glass and Microsoft’s HoloLens, but as seen with Google Glass and as I expect with HoloLens, you will find that these are not ready for “prime time” high volume for a long at best (they will be expensive, they will not live up to users expectation for image quality, and their use case is suspect). Beyond whether near eye will ever be high volume (there are some niche markets), you need to realize that Microvision as a display technology looks even worse in terms of cost, size and power compared LCOS and even DLP than they did in pico projectors.

      • Since the issue of Microvision and LBS v. LCOS v. DLP has returned it should be noted that not everyone in the industry agrees with Karl’s dismal analysis of LBS. Module manufacturers that remain committed to LBS for pico-projectors and other applications include not only Microvision but ST Microelectronics (which appear to be only pursuing automotive applications, Lemoptics, TriLite, and others. So, I’m assuming that these companies have a different analysis and outlook. But I must say that Karl Guttag appears to have “gotten it right” on the dominance of LCOS and DLP and green laser development-production. The point here is that Karl’s word is perhaps not the last word since others with gravitas are believers in LBS. Now, how about we let Karl get on with his stated intention to cover “…various head mounted display…from Google “Glass” to Microsoft’s recent ‘HoloLens’ …and to write more on the computer and game system history.”

  3. Microvison made themselves look ridiculous with their arrogance and silly boasting. maybe if they behaved credibly then people would stop going after them.

  4. On the the VR space: What do you think of Samsung’s Note 4 based VR headset that requires the phone to be attached to the VR glasses? This looks like an early adopter sort of setup, but novel. I wonder if it has a future?

    • I think every company is fishing around trying to figure out what is next after the smartphone and tablet/pad. Frankly having working on or with near eye displays on and off since 1998, I am more than a bit skeptical. There was IMO a ridiculous amount of money paid for Oculus Rift (who is supporting the Samsung device) compared to the potential market.

      There are a long list of problems that have not been solved and I outlined some of these when Google Glass first came out here.

      Fundamentally there are many human interface and human factors issues. When you use a big flat panel like the Oculus approach you have to support a lot of weight which in turn means a big bulky headset to distribute the weight back onto the head. You also block all the forward vision so the device is really only safe to use with sitting down or with some kind of “cage” mechanism. Then there are all the human issues with disorientation and nausea associated with immersive 3-D. And any issues/delay with head tracking make these problems worse.

      Transmissive like Google Glass or MS HoloLens have some of the same issues and other different issues. For example with a “see through” display you can’t block out the real world when you want to; say to what a movie.

      I tend to see all these products as looking for guinea pigs to pay to try out alpha stage products.



  5. Karl –

    Hololens is using Himax’s Front Lit LCoS and they are a development partner with Himax for the HPU.

    Left side of the document –


    ASIC services geared towards HMD’s.


    In 2013, one of the main analyst covering Himax confirmed the MSFT relationship and that Himax was providing LCoS and other services / components.

    Does Syndiant have anything that competes with Front Lit LCoS from Himax?

    Why are you no longer at Navdy?

    • Mike,

      Mark Gomes of PTT has been saying since I reported that Himax was in Google Glass that Himax was also in a similar Microsoft project that appears to be HoloLens. Himax’s main business has been drivers and ASICs related to direct view flat panel LCD displays and LCOS is only a very small part of the company. So doing drivers and ASICs for HMD is a pretty simple extension for them.

      Syndiant has the SYL2271, a 1280 x 720 (720P) device that has much better image quality than anything I have seen from Himax along with a integrated controller with embedded DRAM. But Himax being a much larger company was able to invest in manufacturing. Other possible competitors would include Omnivision (most famous for cell phone cameras), Citizen Finetech Miyota, and Kopin which just made an announcement about an improved process.

      I think the bigger question is whether HoloLens is going to be a high volume product anytime soon. As I reported about Google Glass about 3 years ago there is a lot more to head mounted displays (HMDs) than the display itself, it is the who user experience.

      I have been involved with HMDs in of and on for 17 years and the displays themselves have never been the limiting item. There are still a long list of unsolved problems from size, how it mounts, the quality of the final image, user safety (distractive walking), whether is messes up the person’s hair, how the user interacts with it, nausea/disorientation, and the list goes on. Each HMD devices I have seen makes different trade-offs and no looks to me like anything close to a high volume consumer product.

      I’m sorry, but as I wrote in my “I’m Back” post, I’m not going to comment on Navdy.


      • Karl,

        Himax officially unveiled Front-Lit Lcos last June. From everything that I have been able to gather, it trumps the latest from Syndiant that you refer to by every single measure and has the highest nits/mW efficiency in the industry. I would say that Syndiant comes in a second, but by the stats on Syndiant’s website, it doesnt even come close to Himax in nits/mW efficiency. It’s now similar to Syndiant design using white LED instead of the old RGB reflective LED that Google Glass 1.0 uses.

        If you are looking at Himax website, which is horse sh_t, it will be hard to find this information. Here are a few links for your reference.

        Front-Lit Lcos Unveiled

        Front-Lit Lcos Page 20-24

        Front-Lit Lcos Page 20-24

        The products presently using Himax Front-Lit Lcos with waveguide include. HoloLens and ODG’s latest products, both 2x Front-Lit Lcos display. Optinvent has multiple products under development using Front-Lit reaching consumers this year and their own waveguide patents.

        Finally, Google Glass 2.0 will most certainly use Front-Lit Lcos / waveguide, no idea yet whether it will sport 2 x Front-Lit Lcos or just 1.

        I hope you find this information useful.


        Joe J.

      • Joe,

        Thanks for the references. I don’t mean to be confrontational, but none of the references you gave goes beyond marketing platitudes and there is no data to make an objective assessment. By they way, “nits/mW efficiency” is technically silly and may be marketing speak. You have to know the angular size of the light if you are going to use nits/mW as a metric. A rational measure would be for examples lumens/mW, but nits/mW is silly (like saying a car that went 5 miles is the fastest without saying how long it took) and undermines the credibility of anyone that would use it. So I don’t know how you could have made any rational comparisons.

        I do know that for any reasonable solid viewing angle (horizontal and vertical) in near eye/head mount displays, that OLEDs have problem putting out enough light and this is something that Himax and any other LCOS can beat them by a wide margin. Kopin’s transmissive LCOS, which by the way is also color filter based, has also had a problem getting enough light throughput.

        First, Front-Lit(TM) is a marketing terms by Himax. It is color filter LCOS (using a white LED) which in inherently inefficient as the color filters and black matrix around them typically absorbs over 3/4th of the light. What makes “Front-Lit” different is the uses of a light guide to illuminate the LCOS which results in a thinner optical system.

        You also need to understand that color filter LCOS, of which Front-Lit is one form, generally has fairly poor color rendition due to lateral fields inherent in LCOS causing the colors to bleed together, this generally shows up in the subtractive-primaries/secondary-colors of yellow, cyan, and magenta. It also severely limits the resolution because the pixels have to be over 3 times larger (for the color filters).

        What this tells me is that if someone is using Himax’s Front Lit display technology, it is probably going to be fairly low resolution and have low color saturation. This may be acceptable in a product at a given price point. The big advantage I see in Front Lit is that is results in a compact optical design, similar to emissive technologies like OLEDs.

        I’m not making a case that Syndiant is going to win, because they don’t have the manufacturing capability of Himax. The big companies are going to absolutely require strong manufacturing, which may rule Syndiant out.

      • Karl,

        I’m not claiming to have the expertise in the field that you have, I’m a software engineer and simply seeking the truth. That said, I see the same “marketing” terms used on the Syndiant site describing specs in question. You have outlined what appear to be some differences in design so that’s certainly fair. I have been quite curious myself which is actually better, but made no mistake, Himax Front-Lit Lcos matches the resolution of Syndiant. The products I mentioned all use that Himax Front-Lit Lcos at 1280 x 720 (720P) resolution and they are in fact bright and mw efficient. This information is backed by not only the engineers from Microsoft, ODG, Optinvent but users with no bias who have tried the products.

        Syndiant presently provides their 720P in a couple of Vuzix’s products. They were selected over Kopin despite the fact that Kopin was supplying Vuzix for some time. What does that say about Kopin?

        The only way to know who is being more “accurate” in their marketing materials would be for a 3rd party to test them independently. You can say that Himax is all marketing fluff and has nothing to back it up but the same can be said for Syndiant. The fact is, all the top-tier tech companies have chose Himax for a reason. There is reason to believe that Himax is industry leader brightness / mw efficiency, but in fairness, perhaps Syndiant can match. You have provided no evidence to prove that Syndiant’s top Lcos product can beat Himax Front-Lit Lcos.

        It will be interesting to see if Intel drops Kopin or Syndiant now that they have an invested stake in Vuzix. As you know, Intel is invested in Himax (HDI) too and they are presently working with Google and Himax on Glass 2.0



      • Joe,

        OK, I think you are missing the point by focusing on who is going to win the socket. Near eye does not need a lot of brightness so any of the LCOS solutions can be plenty bright with modern LEDs. OLED do have a severe issue with brightness (they tend to burn themselves up when driven too hard) were LCOS is riding the LED efficiency/brightness curve.

        A color filter LCOS, ala Himax’s Front Lit, can reduce the size and cost by only requiring one “white” (blue LED with a “white” phosphor) and has compact optics, but it requires a larger panel to support 3 color sub-pixels per pixel which hurts size and cost for the same resolution. Himax with their deep background in ASICs and drivers also has some system level advantages.

        But color filter LCOS has drawbacks in image quality, particularly with respect to saturated colors. This is a “lateral fields” issue where the small neighboring subpixels (color) affect each other. Now with “see through” displays ala Google Glass, Hololens, and Optinvent and others good saturated colors are never going to occur except in a dark room, so probably they don’t mind so much.

        Still you have to ask yourself, who is going to wear this things beyond a very selective geek group that don’t need glasses, don’t mind getting their hair messed up, and don’t mind looking like a geek? How dangerous are they going to be (distracted walking)? Will people get nauseous after using them for a while? How will users control them?

        I see that there are many big companies trying to do head mounted displays, I get that. As I have said, I have had experience with near eye over a 17 year period and have seen a LOT (many dozens) of failed products. I have not seen anyone really solve all the issue with head mounted display. Just having bigger names and more money will not alter reality. Sometimes the problem is bigger than the smart people and money can solve (at least for the foreseeable future). People have selective memories and/or look back at the success stories with 20/20 hindsight and make incorrect analogies; for every winner there can be hundreds of concepts that just don’t work out.


      • Also, here is an ODG video, live at CES ’15. I know people that were at CES and have backed up not only the brightness but resolution. There are plenty of 3rd party users that have used HoloLens / Optinvent and say the same thing. The developer event for HoloLens is just 2 months away, so we will get plenty of hands on from 3rd party developers.


        ODG Live at CES (Himx Front-Lit Lcos x 2)

      • First, thanks for the link to the video.

        Ok, so ODG has a “consumer display” that is going to cost “less than $1000.” That seems a bit pricey for a “consumer” product like this. The display they showed had the beam splitters between the decorative lens and the eye so you can forget about people who wear glasses and are near sighted. Do you really think a lot of people are going to wear something like this? If you do, then I really think you need to get out from your computer, get some fresh air, and meet some ordinary people. People are very sensitive to looking at a person’s eyes, the device ODG was showing makes the wearer look pretty freaky.

        I don’t put much stock in reporter reviews of display devices as they always seem to give glowing reviews and don’t know what look at and what to look for. There are a lot of people that just simply want to believe.

        Google Glass had developer events and made a very big hoopla in 2012; how did that turn out? Sometimes the nut is very hard to crack.


      • Karl,

        Thank you for your input. Debating the merits or application of any of the AR/VR devices is a whole separate discussion, not one that I specifically presented and wouldn’t take on in this type of forum for a number of reasons. To summarize, I do think that there is real application for both Google Glass and HoloLens and even ODG to a certain extent. Glass alone has proven that the device isnt really meant to be worn 100% of the time, I think once people make that connection, they will find practical use in AR.

        The reason I linked the ODG video was to demonstrate the fact that Himax Front-Lit Lcos is capable of the specifications in question and does so better than anything else presently on the market. It also demonstrates that the application of hi-resolution video, game, and software is capable on AR, not just VR.

        Based on your vast experience in the field, I believe you have made some things more clear for me as far a technological differences between Syndiant and Himax. You have not however proven that Himax Front-Lit brightness / mw efficiency is still not the best on the market. You haven’t tested Himax Front-Lit and are merely speculating about certain design features and you also make a number of generalizations in which you have not tested yourself, specifically as it relates to color saturation, resolution, and brightness to mw efficiency as a result of design differences. Even though you have vast experience, you cannot definitively make those claims to the degree of certainty that you are and therefore you can’t discredit Himax specification claims that do make it the best in the industry. That said, I understand your points with respect to competitive advantages and don’t feel that it’s worth discussing in greater length as I am not an expert in the field.

        I believe that both Himax and Syndiant have the 2 superior Lcos products on the market and agree with you that Himax has a number of advantages over Syndiant, namely in supply chain and the diversity of their product line and patents.

        I think that 2015 is the year where AR/VR round the corner and become real consumer devices with real application and business application will most certainly be at the forefront, given the hands free advantage. I also believe that the technology will continue to evolve and we will see even greater application several years from now as people adapt and accept what the technology has to offer over other technologies.


        Joe J.

      • Excuse me, but you are incorrect about my knowledge of color filter LCOS. I have both experimented with it and have competed and won out over Himax’s color filter LCOS at 3M. Fundamentally color filter LCOS absorbs at least 2/3rds of the light just due to the filters and usually it is more than 3/4ths of the light. Still as I previously wrote, for near eye applications the efficiency difference is not a significant factor due to the low light output requirements (this would be different for say a front projector).

        Frankly, if I were Himax, I would be more worried about Omnivision and perhaps Citizen Finetech Miyota since they have the manufacturing capability to compete.

        Look every time somebody with a big name introduces a new headset, there are those that predict that AR is upon us. There were many that said this about Google Glass as well. It is like the movie Groundhog Day or Lucy and Charlie Brown and the Football. Base on my experience and technical knowledge having worked in the field, I know of numerous unsolved critical problems with Head Mount Display that will keep them from mainstream adoption anytime soon. I have tried to give you some of them in prior responses.

        If anything based on my background and chances for consulting, I should be heavily biased to think that AR/HMDs should succeed wildly. There is much more in it for me to believe in them.

        There have been heads free headsets for over 20 years, they just failed so badly that you may not be aware of them. The key problem has never been the display even though many will point to it, the problem is everything else.


      • Karl,

        I didn’t question your knowledge of color filter LCOS, I simply suggested you haven’t tested any of the breakthroughs in technology that Front-Lit Lcos claims to make, and that’s a fact plain and simple.

        I think HIMX has struck the right balance of high resolution color quality while retaining brightness at industry best mw efficiency. The color may very well be slightly better on Syndiant Lcos, but based on their own reported stats, the efficiency / brightness arent even close.

        There is no point debating this further with you. I too am a man of science and I know for a fact your havent tested their Front-Lit Lcos, so you can make broad generalizations about color filter all you want, it’s not proof of anything, period.



      • Karl, I do know for a fact that MSFT is using Himax LCoS as well as Google for Google Glass 2 and Lenovo. Lenovo is also using Himax for the Yoga Tablet 2.

        Have you seen the specs and resolution for Front Lit LCoS that Himax announced last June. They actually started working on it in 2011. The chip is 3mm x 3mm and 720P. It is also being used by Lumus and Himax has been working with them for years.

        Appears that you’re still stuck on Syndiant since that’s your baby….?

      • I don’t if you are trying to peddling something but you clearly don’t have your “facts” straight. It is impossible (without any equivocation) for Himax to have chip that is 3mmx3mm and is 720P. To quote something this silly suggests you don’t know what your are talking about. There is no way that LCOS with its lateral fields would support a color filter LCOS which such small pixel sizes. I think you are at best mixing up units and/or documents.

        This has nothing to do with Syndiant. You really don’t know what your are talking about to quote such a silly spec.


      • You going to post my detailed response below Karl for others to see? It’s awaiting your approval and since you called me silly and said I don’t know what I’m talking about, I believe my response should be posted for others to see so they can draw their own conclusions if I’m silly or really don’t know what I’m talking about.

  6. By the way, Hololens will be directly marketed to the 100M Minecraft players. Remember, MSFT made a strategic investment of $2.5B last year to acquire the game. This immediately gives Hololens an addressable market and if they penetrate 3% of the Minecraft players in the 1st year, that’s 3M units sold. I’m expecting about a 10% Minecraft market penetration within 18 months.

    I was at the Hololens announcement and demoed the units and it will be released this year around the time of the Windows 10 launch – October/November 2015. Hololens will be the must have Christmas present of 2015 for Minecraft players.

    • You sound like somebody that is pumping a stock. You can play any games you want to with market penetration and percentages, but they have to build a product that people can look at and tie to a price. Right now Microsoft is not letting any pictures out that show the image real image quality; all they have shown to date is fanciful images that were done in Photoshop or the like. If they were proud of the image quality, they would be showing actual images and not simulations.

      It has been almost 3 years since Google Glass was announce and everyone was predicting that it was going to everywhere and look where that went. So far, there has been a big gap between the what people think HMDs will do and the reality once they actually get to see and use them.


      • Karl – I was at the Hololens launch and tried the prototype personally, have you? I was also at CES and tried the ODG product, have you?

        And, yes they can set the glasses up for people that wear corrective lenses, they had the corrective lenses at the ODG booth that compensated for them. ODG is primarily a military product, but they are releasing a consumer version later this year that’s more geared toward industrial applications. ODG and Hololens share many of the same technologies and MSFT acquired all of ODG’s patents (81 total) for $150M last year.

        So for you to say I’m trying to pump a stock is ridiculous, I don’t even own Himax stock but now that you mention it maybe I should buy some.

        You’re very sure of yourself and maybe your a little out of touch with new industry developments since you have said in the past that Himax looks like they abandoned LCoS because their are not updates to their website. Have you ever considered that they haven’t listed all of their specs so competitors won’t know what they have been up to?

        I’m also curious why are you no longer directly involved with Syndiant or Navdy? Seems someone with your expertise would be a valuable asset to both of these companies.

        I’m sure that since you’re connected with this industry that you have a complete understanding of the Himax and Lumus relationship and that they developed 720P glasses with waveguide technology all the way back in 2011-12 right? Here;s some old design videos from 2012 that you’ve probably also have seen in the past. Lumus and Himax haven’t just been sitting around for 3 years and the technology has advanced much further now. When Google launches Glass 2 you might be surprised at what they have accomplished.




        I respect that you were a pioneer in LCoS, but maybe your focus on Navdy has distracted you from what other companies have been doing. Up till now, the technology has been to bulkily, but now with Front Lit the module is 1MM. Might want to rent this article to learn more about Front Lit (the marketing gimmick that you referenced). And to say brightness doesn’t matter, yeah that’s about as asinine of a remark that I’ve heard from an engineer in this field. Brightness is critical in direct sunlight applications and also if they integrate the waveguide into a pair of sunglass lenses. If NITs are a marketing gimmick well I guess Syndiant is part of the gimmick too http://www.pmaresearch.com/2013/02/ but they are only 400 NITs for full color SYL2271

        By the way, it seems that you’ve discounted the purchasing power of the gaming consumer and since you probably aren’t a Minecraft player, you wouldn’t “get it” and understand the market potential within just this one segment alone.

        Front Lit can be adapted to various LCoS resolutions. The Ominvision OVP2200 720P has an active area 5.82mm x 5.28 at 4.5μm pixel size and that was in 2013. So why don’t you think technology has advanced enough to make a 720P display with an active area of 3mm x 3mm with a better pixel size in the 3’s which would make the pixel size 1/2 of the Syndiant chip? http://www.syndiant.com/pdfs/SYL2271_ProductBrief.pdf Have you ever considered maybe Himax has figured out to to reduce pixel pitch and inter-pixal gap without light spillover and a very high aperture ratio (fill factor)? It seems that their is a pixel size and inter pixel gap battle going taking place right now and you even referenced a 5.4μm pixel size that is 7mm tall. How much more compact would a 3.74 μm pixel size affect the dimensions of the chip? That’s almost a 40% reduction in size from 5.4.

        Best of luck and I’m looking forward to seeing what your next venture is, hopefully it’s a HMD with 1080 or even 4K. There’s already a very compact 4K2K LCoS that has hit the market for pico projectors with a 3.74 x 3.74 μm pixel size and a module size of 15.6mm x 9.2mm.

      • John,

        No I was not at the Hololens launch nor was I at CES this year. The fact that you tried them on does not make you an expert. I didn’t write that you were pumping the stock, but that they way you were pushing it gave the appearance that you were. You are going around throwing terms like Nits (candelas per meter squared) around without understand them.

        A system that requires custom fitted lenses may work for the military but won’t in a consumer product.

        You can’t talk “Nits” without understanding the field of view of the optics. If you take the same amount of light and spread it over double the area, the nits will be half. In the case of the Syndiant 400nits reference that was for an near eye system, not a panel.

        As far as panel size, it is pretty simple to multiply the pixel size by the number of pixel to get the “active area”. Then depending on assembly techniques you need to add on the order of 1mm all the way around (2mm a side) for the seal ring. So generally a panel is going to be about 2mm bigger on a side than the active area or more depending on assembly and how they connect to the ITO (whether they use what is known as “internal crossovers.” Generally the cell gap is on the order of 1 to 1.5 microns with the liquid crystals available, this will result in lateral fields that will significantly affect the liquid crystal by more than the cell gap. So as you get to pixels of 3 micron, there is going to be significant interaction between adjacent pixels — and all this is talking “field sequential color” pixels where the color is provide by sequencing colors rapidly over time.

        Himax with their “Front Lit” technology are using a single white LED which means they have to use color filter LCOS (CFLCOS) to separate the colors. With CFLCOS you need 3 subpixels (red, green, and blue) to make a pixel so in effect they need 3 times the subpixels of field sequential color’s pixel. But then the issue of lateral fields rears it ugly head because the lateral fields cause the colors to bleed together, as in turning on the red pixel causes it to also affects the green and blue pixels.

        Himax put out a paper back in 2005 that shows the effects http://www.ee.ust.hk/~eekwok/publications/2005/p_151.pdf. Granted Himax has made progress since 2005 but the fundamental issues with the liquid crystals remain the same. There is just no way that anyone is doing a 3mm by 3mm (which makes no sense as the aspect ratio of the display is 16:9) with color filter LCOS and has any control over the color of pixels.


      • Well I do know that Google, MSFT, ODG, Optinvent, and Lumus are all using a Himax LCoS and that was verified by the companies using them, not Himax. That was the “fact” that I was stating.

        Did you see the link below? it references the roadmap (mentions Syndiant) for a .21″ 3.77mm x 3.77mm 720P chip correct? Maybe the Himax chip is 3.77mm2? But the LED Front Lit engine can be used on any chip size they manufacture and it is only 1MM thick. The glasses I demoed were definitely 720P so since i’ve personally had them on my face, I think I’m qualified to comment on the quality of the image from what I’ve personally experienced.

        Did you watch the videos on Vuzix? They also have corrective lenses that snap into place. If someone wears Glasses they will buy the right prescription when they purchase Google Glass 2. Why do you think Google inked a deal with Luxoticca? They own Lenscrafters, Sears Optical and Target Optical.

        This gives Google distribution at over 6,000 retail outlets in the USA. I also had the opportunity to meet with Brian (Intel) and Colin (Oakley) at CES and these companies are part of Google Glass 2. Oakley has over 10 years experience integrating electronics into sunglasses, so the form factor is already there and it’s not some clunky looking Google Glass 1.

        On NITs, the only reference I made was regarding the rated output, that’s all. And, I actually understated the maximum tested which is 42,000 NITs confirmed by a Himax engineer. My concern was the power consumption and they are rated at 50NIT per mW.

        Have you personally examined Himax’s newest technology? Until you do, you really don’t know what they are producing and referencing an article from 2005, well let’s all just get our Motorola Bag cell phone out, right?

        Have you seen the new Vuzix glasses? They look like a normal pair of Oakley, pretty slick. Hopefully Syndiant will still be in Vuzix’s higher end products.

        Best of luck Karl, you have definitely provided some great insight on LCoS.

  7. Hi Karl,

    I do have a lot of respect of your achievements, but I have to agree with Joe J and John. It does seem that you are not up to speed with the recent tech. advancements within Lcos. Himax has invested heavily on R&D the last 3 years and Himax’s new Front-lit Lcos is the best in the market, hence the reason it is being implemented on all major smart glass/AR head sets due in the next 12 months.

    I urge you to get in touch with Himax, in case you still have doubts.


    • Excuse me if I am a little jaded by my 37 years of experience and seeing a lot of “demoware” — stuff that only works in demos. It is very easy to fool people or to hid defects in demos where you control the environment and the length of time. The typical media person does not know what they are looking at and what to look for. Most people in media are inherently biased to be part of the hype machine (the “next big thing” sells).

      Almost everything being said now about HoloLens was said 3 years ago with Google Glass and Himax. Frankly the display in Google Glass was very poor. The contrast of the display was about 100:1 and had a magenta background instead of black=clear and the resolution was low and the optics were not very good (“but other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”). Now we have a new crop of people that “Stayed in a Holiday Inn Express Last Night” and are instant experts.

      What I see Himax putting out are conflated meaningless numbers like nits/mW and when I see companies doing I know to be suspicious. There are basic numbers that should be quoted like, light throughput and contrast both at the chip and the optical system level.

      LCOS is a a 20 year old technology and Himax has been working on it for about 10 years. Almost everyone is buying their liquid crystal blends from Merck and they get their silicon wafers from only a few vendors, I think Himax uses TSMC. Lateral fields are a known issues and particularly bad for color filter LCOS that Himax is using for “Front Lit(TM).” These issues include contrast and color saturation issues that are made worse by the dielectric material used to make the color filters. The color filters are going to have to block about 3/4ths of the light or else they have to give up tremendously on color quality and contrast. The physics involved hasn’t changed.

      From the information Himax has put out Front-Lit it is just their color filter LCOS with a edge lit white LED with the “new trick” being that they use a light guide to illuminate the panel. It does not change the underlying physics and workings of the panel itself. I would think over 90% of Himax’s R&D effort has (and should) be in how to reduce the manufacturing cost by improving yields and panel uniformity.

      Similarly, I am suspicious about Hololens. First simply because the name alone is deliberately misleading. It does NOT use holograms, but rather traditional dual display stereo. They thow in “Holo” in the name to get people to mistaking think they are using holograms. The next suspicious thing is that there are no pictures of the actual display and they would not let people take pictures. This smells of demoware.

      From what I see right now all the money in head mounted displays in selling your company to a big company wanting to get a jump start in the group thing of the “Next Big Thing” just in case it turns out to HMD. The technology to build HMDs has been around for over 10 years and yet it has not taken off in a big way. The problem is MUCH bigger than the display itself.

      In 2011 I had all the Microvision Fanboys and Fangirls telling me how Microvision was going to be this great success in 2012, how I didn’t understand all the great improvements they were making and that green lasers were going to be cheap and everywhere. You can witness out that turned out now that we are in 2015 (now those same people are saying it will be 2015 or 2016 — hope springs eternal). No amount of facts or science will dissuade those with a religious belief in a concept.

      Oh well,

      • Karl,

        Microsoft have confirmed that HoloLens will go live for consumers this year, so the short answer is no, it is not demo ware.

        Seems like you are a bit frustrated and overly negative in general. AR/VR tech has been around for over 20 years, I know, but it is now finally getting to the point where the tech is good enough and affordable enough for a consumer mass market. All major players (Microsoft, Sony, Google, Apple, Oculus/FB, Lenovo, LG etc), have AR/VR products in the pipeline, to be released in the next 12 months, so something has evidently changed and the market has matured in the last few years. And guess what, Himax is the preferred supplier.

        Coming back to Himax’s front-lit Lcos, – I still stick to my guns and reiterate that you are in NO position to claim that front-lit Lcos is this or that, unless you have actually tested the products. I gather for the correspondence above that you have NOT tested Front-lit Lcos, so please let’s just leave judgements aside for now. Let me know when you get hold of ODG smart glass which is due for consumer release soon,


      • Yeah Yeah Yeah, I heard all this about Google Glass and Microvision. The differences is that I have perspective having followed near eye displays for 17 years. You are confusing success of the concept with the number of companies trying to make it work.

        As I wrote, the companies are all desperately seeking “the next big thing” and don’t want to miss it so they are all chasing each other. They are still spending pocket change relative to the size of the companies. If it doesn’t work out, they will be chasing the next fad.

        Google Glass “went live” in 2012 and they hit the news everywhere. It was pretty obvious how horrible is was and yet there were many saying it would be a great success too.

        I’m pretty sure that Himax is the preferred supplier, so what? They were the preferred supplier for Google Glass, that was good for what 10,000 units (guess) and $250,000 in revenue.

        You can believe what you want to believe. I understand how their technology works. You are basing all your believe on “everyone else it doing it.” I will believe it when I see a real breakthrough beyond just the display for an a product that can really be used by millions of consumer. As I have tried to inform you, the DISPLAY is about the LEAST of the problems with head mount displays, it is all those nasty human issues that keep it to niche markets.


      • Karl,

        You are off the mark by a long shot regarding Google Glass. Google sold 831k units in 2014 alone. Here’s the link http://www.marketwatch.com/story/no-google-glass-wasnt-a-failure-2015-01-29

        831k x 1500 (unit price) = $1.246 Billion. Some units were probably offered on a deal to corporations, so let’s say they sold for 1 billion. That’s for 2014 alone, and definitely not pocket change…. Google Glass was not a failure, from a financial perspective. Google recouped the development costs for Google Glass 1.0 and and on top of that, Google Glass 2.0, which will go live later this year. This time, Google will get it right. Design will be much more appealing (think Oakley) and the tech. has advanced considerably. New Design, Intel chip and Himax Front-lit Lcos will mean that it will be a different beast than Glass 1.0.

        Perhaps, this was an eye-opener for you? I sure hope so.


      • Holiday Inn, funny Karl. Such a comedian. When’s the last time you sat down and had a conversation with Hsien Chang Tsai? I doubt you have ever met the man. How about Roland Van Gelder? Do you know who he is and who he works for now? Maybe you know Conrad Dante and have talked to him about his recent consulting work with Apple.

        I would at least expect that you do know that Himax acquired Spatial Photonics. But, I have to say that there are some very bright people out there that are experts in LCoS and just might have a little more insight on what’s going on with Apple, MSFT, Google and Lenovo than your assumptions.



        You have heard of SBG Labs and Rockwell Collins? They developed a waveguide patent and have a working relationship with Himax for LCoS chips for DigiLens. Notice the connection between all the players – KPCB was an investor in Spatial Photonics and Himax acquired them years ago.


      • Oh wow, you know all these names. Sorry it does not impress me.

        You remind me of a quote from Paper Chase where John Houseman (Kingsley) blasts one of his law students for talking about photographic memory – “A photographic memory is of absolutely no use to you Mr. Brooks without the ability to analyze that vast mass of facts between your ears” Here’s the clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHV2n4o6J2I (BTW, I copied this from a comment at http://jonathanbecher.com/2011/09/09/our-memories-are-cloud/). Just quoting the names of a lot of people does not mean they will solve the problem. Google Glass had a lot of smart people and a lot of money too.

        If Himax technology is so great and Google is so great, why did they put that crappy display in Google Glass? Elucidate us with your ability to process the “facts.”

        Please, yes I know of SBG labs and have been there several times and I know of Spatial Photonics purchase by Himax back in 2011. And where have these gone in terms of a product in the last 4 years? Spatial Photonics, essentially a TI DLP clone, was always saying they were just around the corner from a big success year after year but never quite made it. Texas Instruments spent over $1B in R&D before they could sell a DLP for more than it cost them to make it. Their purchase by Himax suggested that Himax was hedging their bets against LCOS. For all the pronouncements from SBG over the years, I have yet to see them in any product with much volume.

        As I have said, sometimes the problem is much bigger than all the smart people can solve. For the HMD it is not enough to solve one piece of the puzzle and as I have repeatedly said, the display is probably the least of the problems.


  8. Karl,

    Good to see you back , I look forward to your insights.

    I was hoping to provide you with some developments in OLED micro displays by eMagin as I feel they have a place in the mix that often gets overlooked .

    First is the issue of brightness .

    From the 3Q CC CEO Andrew Sculley states :

    “So we are happy. With the new equipments that we installed during July we produced prototype ultra-high brightness full color displays. We made a WUXGA display or a number of them and that’s 1920 by 1200 displays, higher resolution than your full HD TV, with the normal 9.6 micron pixel pitch and again just imagine it’s 3.2 microns color set pixels. And we measured these displays at 7,000 nits, that’s 7,000 candelas per meter squared. ”

    Furthermore they are currently under contract to take this to 10,000 nits .

    “The next one the enhanced ultra-high brightness program is meant to improve the brightness of these full color displays to above 10,000 nits and you note that we hit 7,000 already with these and now we need to get beyond 10,000, so that’s a large increase. ”

    Secondly , EMAN has announced development of their IHMD prototype .

    Nov 11,2014

    eMagin Corporation (NYSE MKT:EMAN), the leader in the development, design and manufacture of Active Matrix OLED microdisplays for high resolution imaging products, today announced that it has been developing an Immersive Head Mounted Display (IHMD). This IHMD enables a paradigm shift in the look and performance of Virtual Reality (VR) HMDs because it incorporates the company’s latest 2K by 2K high-resolution OLED microdisplays and patented optics, rather than a significantly larger and lower resolution cell phone display and conventional optics.

    Third , Jerry Carollo resigned his position as SVP of Business Development at EMAN in January and is currently Optical Architect for Google . This can be verified by checking his linkedin profile . There is some speculation that he concurrently works for EMAN as well as Google as his profile lists both companies as current .

    Fourth, EMAN continues to make progress in the marketplace albeit mainly in higher end products . On example is the eSight . If you haven’t seen their product I suggest you do . eSight is a product that can enable the blind to see . You heard right . Sales potential is in the millions & they have garnered nation media attention .

    Again good to see you back .

    • Frankenberry,

      Micro-OLED is another one of those technologies that has been “just around the corner” for about 20 years. It is still extremely expensive compare to other technologies which as relegated it to military and very high end products. Even in these special areas, they have typically had problems with light output. With LCOS you can dial up the brightness to any amount you want with LEDs, whereas with OLEDs there is a tradeoff between brightness and lifetime.

      The one area where OLED could beat at least some types of LCOS is in contrast, but absolute contrast of the display is not as important as brightness in see-through applications.

      There is no technical reason that an eSight product requires or gets and advantage from micro OLED so it makes little sense. It could very well be that it was easier for a low volume company to use it.

      Based on all the evidence, micro OLED is still not in a good position for high volume applications.


      • Thanks for your reply ,

        I didn’t know the discussion was limited to see through applications . So lets just throw EMAN ‘s 2K X 2K displays & patented optics out the window along with the rest of the VR category .

        You mention OLED as having superior contrast & then state there is no technical reason for eSight to use OLED when the ability to control contrast is one of the main things that makes the eSight so effective . Perhaps more DD is in order on your part .

        As far as high volume applications , I don’t see anyone producing anything at a high volume level . You even stated that Google Glass only produced 10,000 units (guess) . Hardly high volume . Even by your own admission you state that a mass AR solution may be some time away .

        But as you say ,

        Oh well !

      • Frankenberry,

        I’m all about “consumer” applications. I spent 20 years designing CPUs and Graphics chips before going into display devices, particularly LCOS. Anything below 1 million units per year rounds to zero for me :-).

        You can get sufficient contrast out of the LCOS for the vision impaired application of eSight.

        Right now I don’t have a dog in this hunt, but based on all the evidence, LCOS is in the best position for HMDs. My issue is you have a lot of relatively new people that seem destine to repeat the mistakes of the past (Google Glass made many obvious mistakes) and hope it turns out differently for them. I mean look at HoloLens, the thing is massive and blocks your side vision, and it is that big and cumbersome for a reason that is not going away anytime soon. Who is going to walk around wearing something like that? Heck, a lot of people were complaining that Google Glass was too big and ugly.

        Wishing just will not make it so,

      • Karl,

        I understand your comments about Hololens, and the thought that nobody will want to walk around wearing it, but, I was under the impression that the Hololens was meant to be more like a desktop computer. Something worn in the house or at the office as you try to conduct work. Maybe you wear it as you grab yourself a cup of coffee, but, I don’t think anyone thought you would be running around doing errands in Manhattan with this thing on.

        Are you saying you think the Hololens will be a consumer failure?

        Also, I do not want you to think, I thought, you were attempting to mislead people, but, I am curious about a Seeking Alpha article you wrote in June of 2013, titled, “Proof That Google Glass Uses A Himax LCOS Microdisplay.” You disclosed in the article you were Long HIMX. You also mentioned nothing about the shortcomings of Head Mounted Displays, you are mentioning now. I am just curious. If you were such a believer then, why are you not a believer now? It would appear obvious, from your recent posts on this blog, you never thought head mounted displays would be ready for prime time at this point. Yet, you produced an article promoting Himax Technologies, as well as stating your were Long HIMX stock. Why would you write this article and go long on HIMX if you did not think Head Mounted Displays would be ready for the consumer market at this point?

        Could you elaborate on some of these questions and statements I have made please?

      • I think they may get some game “geeks” to use them, but HMD like Hololens is not something that is going to be something most people will wear for hours a day. There is no way people are going to prefer it to a monitor or tablet for everyday use (due to human factors issues).

        As a writer to SA, I have to disclose my position in anything I write about. I had a small amount of Himax stock and so I disclosed it. Himax was and is well positioned in the HMD space and that is having an inordinate effect (relative to the size of their LCOS business compared to the rest of Himax) on its stock. The fact that it was good for their stock is different than whether I thought that HMDs would be a high volume product.


      • Some game “geeks” wow…. that’s a huge market Karl. There’s 100M Minecraft Players. You just don’t get it at all. Hololens isn’t made to wear around while you’re walking around outside of your house and it solves the motion sickness issue associated with VR products like Occulus.

        Your comments are starting to make you sound like the “has been” drunk 70 y/o at the end of the bar that’s full of himself and just comes off as looking like he’s outdated and stuck in the 80’s.

      • So what is HoloLens made for in your opinion? You will get a lot of laughs from business people when you make arguments like “we only have to get 3% of this 100 million unit markets to be successful.” Microsoft is saying Hololens will cost “less than $1000” which implies it is still going to be very expensive (as in say $995.95 to pick a number under $1000).

        Among the many issues with HMD is whether you cover one eye, both eyes, see through or not. Each of these modalities has its problems. Remember that with see through display, “black” is whatever the background is and you can only add light. Watching movies, for example, works like crap with a see through display. There is a very big difference between what works for a gee wiz demo and what people will buy and use for hours.

        The difference between me and the typical reporter that always see new technology as great, is that I try and process through the information and not take it at face value. If you don’t like it, then you don’t have to read what I write.

      • Microsoft hasn’t formally announced a price. How I’m reading the comments posted is that the poster estimates a 3% market penetrate for just the Minecraft users within the first 12-18 months and that seems rather conservative. Just looking at how many Xbox/s are sold worldwide and I would think that number should easily ramp to a 60-70% market penetration especially if they offer the new Xbox with a packaged bundle.

      • Hi Karl.

        Yes, OLED overhyped, but is not progress speeding up?

        Took eMagin 8 years to progress from SVGA to SXGA (2000-2008), but since then two very fast and on time pixel shrinkages / res increases.

        Also, their new hi brightness and direct emission R&D work is progressing right on schedule.

        Further, Micro Oled went from startup company to solid EVF supplier in a few short years.

        Samsung exploding in cell phones now.

        In other words, it’s not 2004 anymore.

        Yes, still expensive. But we don’t yet know, for example, what eMagin’s costs would look like when they drop some mil specs to do a design w/ 100x their normal volumes.

        I also don’t know what MicroOled’s SVGA EVF 0.4 inch costs, but since the camera is $700 it must be much lower than the $500 EMAN charges in volume for their higher performance mil spec displays.

        Also, for what its worth, Kopin’s mil share is now no more than 50%, not 80% or 98%, etc. And the mil is done funding them. But that’s a side note.

        The basic Q is whether or not after a decade of disappointment OLED’s accelerated forward in the last couple years a little faster than you’ve noticed.

      • I know of a few companies that thought they would consider OLEDs and then the found out the price was breathtakingly high. The other big issue with OLED has been getting the brightness high enough for use in sunlight. The problem is sort of “square law” in that they need the pixels small and at the same time brighter making it tough to meet brightness and lifetime. Last time I looked, Samsung was still dropping the brightness on there OLED displays if you put up too much on the display at the same time.

        I know it is not 2004 anymore, but it has not been closing that fast. Check back in a few years and we will see.


  9. Hi Karl, Just wondering why you blog under 2 different names? I noticed you blog under admin and also KarlG. I was just wondering why this may be?

    • Oh so now you are going for the “technology is so great they keep a secret” argument. So why did Google Glass use Himax’s crappy looking display with lousy contrast and that magenta glow?

  10. I was reading some of your comments on SA and you’re clueless. The first “smartphone” wasn’t created by Apple, they just had the most success when they launched their copy cat product.

    The 1st smartphone was created by IBM in 1993 and was called the Simon. It had a touchscreen and could send emails and faxes. So by the time the product evolved when Apple entered the market the product was far more advanced that the 1st generation. Here’s a link for your readers to see the evolution of a product like the smartphone http://time.com/3137005/first-smartphone-ibm-simon/

    HMD’s have been around for years and they have been evolving too…

    This brings me back to Google Glass 1, v2 is going to look nothing like it.

    In an SA article you responded to Mark Gnomes saying you didn’t understand why Google used LCoS with low res in Glass one because it wasn’t full field of view. Well guess what Professor LCoS, Glass v2 will be stereoscopic 3D using 2 LCoS optical engines and will be full field of view.

    • You seem to be doing a lot of research on me and what I have written for someone who’s opinion you don’t like.

      Google Glass failed for many reasons, not just the display. A volume consumer product requires they get the quality and overall experience to meet consumer expectations at a price they are willing to pay. Going to “full/larger” field of view in both eyes is going to more than double the cost to make, take double the power, requires a much larger and bulkier and geekier headset, be even more distracting to both the user and the person seen them, harder to put away when not in use and so on. With HMD it is like squeezing a balloon, trying to solve one problem just makes another problem worse.

      I guess we will have to revisit this discussion in say 20 years and see if Google Glass v22 gets it right by then.

      • Karl,

        GG sold 831k units in 2014 alone. Surely this is an eye-opener for you?

        I have to agree with Joe, you do come of as really bitter – the old guy at the bar reference was spot on.

        It is OK, no one is perfect, but be mature enough to admit whenever you are wrong.

        Re Hololens, it will never be something that someone wears out when stroling in the park, or takes with on the subway. It will however be huge in the workplace and for consumers, on the gaming front and within the household. So many potential applications.

      • Please provide a reference for your claim of GG units sold .

        My search turns up this Article & comments re GG sales :

        How Many People Actually Own Google Glass?

        “The point of the Explorer program is to get Glass into the hands of all sorts of people, see the inspirational and useful ways people are using the technology, and hear feedback on how we can make it even better before a consumer launch. We are not releasing any sales figures on Glass.”

      • What part of the word “guess” don’t you understand? I guess it is about 10,000 based on the fact there was a big name company behind it and they marketed the heck out of it but you didn’t see many. They put a lot of money into designing the device with custom molds/plastics. 10,000 units is sort of a “minimum semi-volume build.” It would get them out to a lot of developers and some of the rich geeks. At a million or even a few hundred thousand you would see them turning up on airplanes, which I never saw even though I was flying in and out of San Francisco (ground zero for Google Glass) at the time. My guess would be they sold between 4,000 and 20,000 and it could be less or a bit more.

      • I did a Google Search on the 831K number and found an article quoting a New York times anonymous Google Executive in 2013 that GG would represent 3% of Googles sales by 2105 and that Business Insider PREDICTED sellz 831K in 2014 (see http://www.online-phd-programs.org/google-glass/). They also predicted they would be selling almost 2.5M in 2015, how is that turning out? It looks to me that you just a good example of “group think” and predictions that were wrong being regurgitated as if they actually happened. Quoting from the article:

        A Google executive anonymously interviewed by the NY Times in Feb 2013 indicated that the company has hopes that Google Glass will make up 3% of its revenue by 2015. While this is fairly aggressive given the current price and the fledgling app market for the device, it’s possible.

        Google Glass is currently only available to developers and priced at $1500.
        There is a GDK available, but at $1500, it’s a significant investment for developers let alone consumers.
        It’s expected to be offered to the general public by mid-2014, and become mainstream by 2016.
        Business Insider (BI) Intelligence believes the price is likely to drop gradually, with an average of $500 per unit over time.
        Expectations are 21M unit sales per year by the end of 2018.
        This translates into a $10.5B market per year.
        BI expects the price will be $600 per unit by 2015, then drop further.
        Sales estimates by BI are:
        2014: ~831K units
        2015: ~2.468M
        2016: ~3.740M
        2017: ~10.62M
        2018: ~21.15M

      • One more thing, if GG had really sold 831K in 2014 at $1,500 that would have been $1.246 Billion in revenue, not exactly the kind of thing even Google would hide and they would not have pulled the product from the market if the sales at $1,500 were that strong. Not to mention you would have seen people with GG everywhere around the Bay Area.

        I’m sorry but you really don’t appear to have one ounce of business sense and just want to throw mud. You are basing you 831K argument on someone’s comment that also does not have a clue. The fact that their comment got published on the internet does not make it a fact.


      • Karl,

        Sorry, I was addressing my comment to Dan & his claim of : GG sold 831k units in 2014 alone not your “guess” of 10,000 units .

        That’s why it is nested below his comment .

        In the future I will try to remember to use peoples names so as to avoid similar scenarios .

        Dan clearly could have put his information in the context it was written but chose not to . Is his intention is to distort & deceive ?

        If this were my blog I would kick people off that resort to such tactics .

        Either they are ignorant or have an agenda IMO .

      • Frankenberry,

        I’ve seen your post on HIMX yahoo finance msg page. Who is trying to distort and deceive? You are pathetic.

        The thirst is real.

        No more posts from my side.


      • Dan ,

        Your evidence presented as facts don’t pass the smell test and when exposed to the light of day you scurry away .

        I say good riddance .

        Who wants to continuously wade through BS .

      • Hey Frank, curious if you know anything about search analytics? MSFT Hololens is a trending search topic on Google. This is going to be disruptive technology and people worldwide are interested in buying it.


        Here I added the search term Karl Guttag, he’s the red line.


        Here I added the search term Navdy to compare it against Hololen and Karl’s name


        So let’s make an assumption based on product interest what is going to be the one with the highest demand. Seems they will both be hitting the market about the same time.

      • Stan ,

        Re your search analytics comparison between Navdy & HoloLens .

        Sorry, I don’t find any value in your post .

      • That’s ok Frank, I don’t find any value in your post either. It was just a question if you have ever done any search analytics since you are an engineer or scientist or whatever you want to call yourself. My background is in business development and sales for 30 years and I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with people like yourself that can never find a way to be successful with something they engineer because they just don’t understand business development and come off as a know it all.

        But for those that follow trending terms (correlates to product interest / demand) let’s compare Vuzix, Hololens, Recon, Google Glass and smart glasses for the past 12 months. It is clear that Google and Microsoft are on the radar of millions of people worldwide and Vuzix and Recon aren’t even a blip.


      • Stan ,

        “It is clear that Google and Microsoft are on the radar of millions of people worldwide and Vuzix and Recon aren’t even a blip.”

        So get ya some GOOG & MSFT stock then .

        I hope you make millions with your trading strategy .

      • Opps,

        Sorry, I got lost in the back and forth. The 831K number is totally ridiculous.

        I don’t know if Dan is just a troll or what his agenda is. I don’t mind dissenting opinions and a lot of information comes out of the back and forth discussions and it makes me (and hopefully others think). If they get really abusive or rude I will cut them off.

        Obviously some people come to this blog with an agenda or to see their pre-conceived notions confirmed. I’m an engineer and very analytical and like to deal with the facts on the table. I have enough experience not to go hog wild with the latest fad, but also have a love for technology and like to see the real breakthroughs make it.

        I have seen many a silly forecast made by analysts. ALMOST never are market forecast low for several reasons 1) they don’t want to be the one who missed a big new thing (if the concept dies the prediction is almost never referenced, but if the concept goes big, then they want to claim credit), 2) they have a financial interest in predicting good numbers, bigger numbers for a market mean more sales forecast (the people that buy the forecast are primarily people in the industry, if the forecast is low then they get out and don’t buy the forecast), 3) the will get more publicity from news sources if they predict big numbers (big numbers make news), and 4) they are usually not very technical people making the forecasts and they buy into the marketing hype presented to them.


      • Karl, have you seen the new Vuzix glasses? They use waveguide technology and have dual LCoS lenses. They are NOT big and bulky. Buddy, you should take a break for a few weeks and reset your train of thought about HMD glasses. If this is what Vuzix has designed, I can only imagine what Google and Luxottica are up too.

        I got to talk to Paul at CES and look at these glasses and They look like a normal pair of modern Oakleys. the picture is on the left under the video, click on it and it will expand.


      • I think Paul is a good guy and has been at it at with Vuzix for a long time (Vuzix has been around since 1997). I have not looked through their latest waveguide glasses. But you are still talking about something that is pretty big compared to typical glasses with effectively blinders on the sides (to mount the displays and get the light/image into the waveguides).

        There are clearly specific markets that can use HMD, but there is a long way to go to them being a high volume product. I have personally seen a number of rounds HMD’s being just around the corner to becoming consumer product and I still see some huge unsolved problems. Right now I see a lot of group think, sort of a second wave after Google Glass, but not products that consumers are going to buy in large numbers.

        Back to what I call “demoware.” It is one thing to make a good looking demo, but this does not mean that everyone will go out and buy it. They need to be products that people will use every day.

        The way to convince me is to see people using the product. I think most of the Google Glasses bought by consumers were used a few days and then put in a drawer after the novelty and bragging right wore off.


      • Karl, the Vuzix glasses have the same form factor as the Oakley Thump. Are you familiar with Oakley Thumps?

      • Karl, have you seen the current Avegant Glyph? It’s now shipping. Image quality wise, I don’t know if it can be beat. Not a huge FOV, but it’s not intended to replace the Oculus Rift.

      • Thanks, but I have not seen the new Avegant Glyph yet.

        One of the obvious trade-offs if FOV versus angular resolution.

      • Jerry,

        Could you please provide a non hearsay verifiable source that states the new VUZI waveguide smart glasses use LCOS displays ?


      • Jerry,

        Check that . I found the Syndiant PR :

        DALLAS – (January 7, 2013) – Syndiant, a leader in high resolution microdisplays, has teamed with Vuzix to provide the HD 720p panel to enable its first HD see-through wearable display, M2000AR.

        “We have selected the Syndiant SYL2271 HD panel as it provides all the best features for our see-through optical waveguide systems, including HD resolution, small form factor and high brightness”, said Paul Travers, CEO of Vuzix.

        “Syndiant believes that wearable displays will experience explosive growth in the consumer electronics and industrial markets,” said Keith Lewis, VP of Sales and Marketing of Syndiant. “Vuzix is a great partner due to their deep experience and strong IP position in the near-to-eye space. Vuzix’ optical waveguide technology is the right solution to enable see-through displays. Furthermore, we believe that see-through wearable displays will be the winning approach for augmented reality in an attractive form factor that will be embraced by the mass market.”

      • Wow, you found it yourself? They are using LCoS and the guy in your video is a Sh__ salesman with a mouth full of samples. I was at their booth and that guy is a clown.

        The are AR, VR and 3D… what? They are AR and 3D but they aren’t VR. And he couldn’t tell you the difference between LCoS, DLP, LCD, AMOLED or a CRT TV.

      • Jerry ,

        First the PR about Syndiant LCOS is for the monocular M2000AR not the binocular glasses in the video .

        Second , I suggest you do your DD on Dan Cui , check his Linkedin , he is no hack salesman . He is Paul Traver’s right hand man . The fact that you don’t know who he is gives me insight into your knowledge base .

        He was just fooling with the reporter as he didn’t want to answer his question regarding display type . You can see him look over to Travers nervously as he tried to backtpeddle.

        It will be Kopin LCD .

        Kopin has an ownership stake in Vuzix . They have a very close business relationship .

      • Doing a little more digging I found this CES 2015 Vuzix video Jan 30, 2015 .

        Dan Cui says “probably using LCD at this point”

        960 X 540

  11. No point discussing with you Karl, so this will be my last post.

    Obviously, the article referred to global sales, hence the reference to shipments (emphasis added on “shipments”). Also, most sales were not to consumers, but towards corporations. BTW, the corporate side of GG is still very much alive and growing. You should also expect to see GG 2.0 released later this year, in time for the holidays.

    You “just don’t get it”. Too stubborn. Hope you’ll change ways as you still have good times ahead – provided that you change attitude and lose the bitterness.

    Oh well,

    • Don’t let the door hit you on the way out :-).

      You must be taking something pretty strong to believe that GG sold 831K units and Google stopped making it.


      • Karl are you starting to suffer from dementia? Google stopped selling Glass 1 because they ran out of TI processors. Texas Instruments released the PR in 2012 right after the launch of Google Glass so it was only a matter of time. Google began working with Intel to develop a replacement processor for Glass 2 and they had been working with Himax’s new Front Lit technology that would have to be upgraded as well. So Google knew a complete redesign was coming. How do I know? I am part of the Glass at Work developers program. You can still purchase Glasss 1 for development but they are not selling the units to retail any longer. They are supporting businesses and developers while we wait for Glass 2 to be released later this year. Since we are investing Millions into a new software, I think I am fully aware of whether or not Glass 2 is going to be released this year. I have been reassured by executives at Google in charge of the Glass program. Google’s partnership with Intel is providing a better and more power efficient processor and from what I’ve been told they have better power efficiency with the new displays being provided by Himax. I’ve been told that are 80% more efficient.


        Just from reading your comments, I see why the VC’s at Navdy have gone another direction with the company.

      • Bob,

        Sorry you don’t like my analysis, but if they were selling hundreds of thousands of Google Glass units they would not have pulled them from the market AND you would be seeing them everywhere. Even Google Glass’s early supporters turned on them http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-scoble/google-glass-is-doomed_b_4603451.html. The fact (if it is a fact) that your company is spending (or is it wasting?) millions does not make it is success either.

        Then you have to resort to lying about things you know nothing about with respect to Navdy. You can’t make a cogent argument so you make up a lie about me, real class.

    • Karl, what’s you opinion of these glasses? Do you think they look bad? Do you think that they wouldn’t be good for industrial applications? I kinda like them and just add some tinted lenses and nobody would know they just weren’t a bulkier pair of regular sunglasses.

      • Thanks Paul, but, I was looking for an answer from him. Karl has been acting like a consumer sales expert in his latest posts, but, I do not see anything about consumer sales expertise in his bio. Karl, I don’t know how you can think, you know what the consumer wants, better than Microsoft and Google, but, you obviously think you do know better. Obviously, you don’t know any better if you were part of the Navdy development. Talk about a consumer product no one wants or needs.

      • FranksBuddy,

        I have been working in the area of display devices for the better part of 37 years, much of that time with products used in consumer systems at both a large company (TI) and several startups. I have been been working in the area of Microdisplays that have been used in Head Mounted systems for much of the last 17 years. I know a lot about the technical issues associated with HMDs.

        Your assertion appears to be that since Microsoft and Google are big companies, they always are right. That “sales” knows what new technology will succeed. They each have many failures, particularly Microsoft. Many a times research projects “escape the lab” at big companies, make a big splash in the news and then disappear, particularly when they introduce products/concepts outside their “core” technology.

        I guess you just simply believe everything Microsoft and Google says.


      • Ok. So you are not a consumer sales expert. I certainly don’t believe everything you say. I believe the, “big companies,” have a better idea of which consumer products will succeed, than you do. As you said you are not an expert in this field. They have many experts in this field, as well as in your field.

        Yeah Karl. I’m sure companies like Google and Microsoft blindly throw products onto the consumer market, with out doing any kind of research, just preying these new technological products will be a success. I am sure they don’t have departments, the size of small companies, devoted to researching the chances of success for their new technological devices.

        Karl, I find it odd, while you were writing your 2013 Seeking Alpha article, you were disciplined, strictly commenting on Glass 1.0 and the Himax microdisplay, but, refused to mention your lack of faith in the success of head mounted displays. Yet, now, you post your criticism of Head mounted displays, and their place in the consumer market, all over your blog.

        Why is it now, you freely post your criticism of Head mounted display, but, not in your Seeking alpha article?

        You do realize Seeking Alpha is a stock blog where investors go for information about investments?

        You do realize your article, “Proof That Google Glass Uses A Himax LCOS Microdisplay,” was about the components of a Head Mounted Display?

        You do realize your article, appeared, as if you, an industry expert, were not only supporting Himax technologies microdisplay, but, was also expressing faith in the eventual success of Head Mounted Displays?

        You do realize, your article, would have served investors far greater, if you had shared your criticism about HMD and your lack of faith in the devices consumer acceptance?

        The fact you left out your criticism of HMD in your Seeking Alpha article, wreaks of a lack of integrity.

      • So why to you bother to come to my blog? Just read the news releases from the big companies and be happy.

        Do you want to know about the good and bad of head mount displays or not?

        On Seeking Alpha I had to have new material. I had already discussed my doubts about Google Glass on my blog but I guess this was lost with the finding that Himax was in Google Glass.


        Quoting directly from that article:

        “The answer is likely that they will not have a big success with their first device even if it is a big improvement on past efforts. Even the rumors state it is a “test market” type device meaning that even Google is looking more to learn from the experience than sell a lot of units. I’m sure Google has many smart people on the device, but sometimes the problem is bigger than even the smartest people can solve.

        The idea of a display device that can appear/disappear at will is in compelling to many people and why it keeps being tried both in the movies and television as a plot element and by companies trying to build products. My sense is that we are still at least a few more technology turns of the screw away from the concept becoming an everyday device. In future articles I plan on discussing both the technical and user-interface challenges with HMDs.”


  12. I would like to comment on everything I’ve observed on this thread. I think Karl is probably a decent engineer and knows some good stuff about LCoS and the challenges of making a HMD. Although, from his comments he seems very anti Himax and anti HMD and keeps talking about problems being bigger than all the smart people working on them. As a casual observer, i would say that is a very pessimistic view on the technology.

    I’m just a young kid, 37, and I’m looking forward to buying a pair of Vuzix, Oakley, Google, MSFT or whoever builds them that looks like the Oakley Thumps. And honestly, Vuzix looks pretty darn close and I hand them in my hands at CES.

    Karl is used to wearing prescription glasses whereas I’m used to wearing trendy Oakley and Spy sunglasses that block out a lot of the peripheral vision. It’s never presented a problem for me.

    Now, I do know something about marketing and sales (most engineers that I know are terrible at it) because I work for one of the largest sunglass companies in the world. Since this has been my job for the past 15 years, I would like to think I have a much better understanding about market research and sales channel development than a engineer desk jockey that thinks they know what the world needs (I’m not saying that’s you Karl, just happens to be a few engineers I work with that have this attitude.)

    As a company, we have a market research and design team that actually talks to consumers about our designs and products. This is done to ensure that we manufacture something that the market wants. No sense in wasting money on engineering a product and building it if it won’t sell, right?

    So here’s what I know. Oakley is the pioneer in integrating electronics into sunglasses. And, they are the most successful company to ever launch an MP3 player integrated into sunglasses. They also hold over 200 patents directly related to integrating MP3 players and HUDs in glasses.

    The CEO of Oakley (now owned by Luxottica) is a pretty sharp dude and knows a little something about making stuff consumers want. Colin is a visionary.

    But what Karl doesn’t understand is the “smart people” that are solving this challenge aren’t from Google or Microsoft. It’s collection of experts each in their own field. You see Google, Intel and Oakley have set up cross functional teams that bring together the brightest minds that otherwise would have never collaborated on the project had just one company been trying to solve the problem.

    There is a reason that Hans Moritz was hired by Intel. http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048279/intel-hires-wearable-computing-talent-but-its-late-to-the-game.html

    There is a reason why Google forged a relationship with Luxottica (Oakley) http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/127578-oakley-smart-glasses-are-coming-with-google-glass-in-their-sights

    Sergey is pretty sharp and he knows that one company could disrupt his HMD plans and that was/is Oakley. Sergey also recognized that if Oakley developed their own HMD glasses (which that have been working on for several years in secret), they would need an operating system.

    Both Sergey and Colin knew they would need the most powerful and efficient processor to run their HMD’s and Brian at Intel knew he got left behind in the smartphone revolution. So a partnership was forged between all of these companies. http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-glass-deal-thrusts-intel-deeper-into-wearable-devices-1417395598

    So know let’s talk about the potential size of the market… it’s friggin’ huge Karl. AND OAKLEY knows this because of their past sales of MP3 Integrated sunglasses that are the same size as the Vuzix with the same sides that limit vision. Of course Karl you will disagree and tell me what I don’t know what I’m talking about, so here’s the proof.

    Here’s a video so you can see what Oakley has built in the past https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ3kLWx0FWc

    They have designed several different styles – all big and bulky – http://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2010/08/03/958367d4-67c4-11e3-a665-14feb5ca9861/thumbnail/770×433/7a9764ae25f36535088bd561015d68f9/32743731-2-440-OVR-1.gif


    Now just showing you pictures of these glasses wouldn’t be enough for you Karl to substantiate the success of the product line. So, here’s the Q4:2005 Financials for the 1st quarter revenue of $19.8 million from sales of Oakley Thump
    sunglasses. They went on to sell over $80M in just their first year in 2005 and total revenue from Oakley MP3 sunglasses over the years generated approximately $500M in revenue. These glasses had an MSRP of $495 to $595 and if you know anything about Oakley, they offer ZERO discounts. It’s full boat or nothing. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1830953,00.asp

    Here’s the quarterly report for our review. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/946356/000117184305000058/newsrelease.htm

    You see Karl, the marketing research has already been done, the products are in demand and they have successfully sold head mounted MP3 players integrated into bulky sunglasses. Next is just adding the waveguide and optical engine, and it has to be the most compact available on the market….. maybe Front Lit technology from Himax?

    So what you are going to see is these same “geeky” Oakley frames with a waveguide HMD integrated into the frames being launched very soon. I like the Vuzix, but I’m going to like the Oakley’s even more.

    By the way Karl, Oakley won’t be using Syndiant, Kopin or Omni’s LCoS in their glasses how do I know? I asked that “know it all engineer” that I work with and he confirmed it.

    Best of luck old man…….. it’s a dog eat dog world out there.

    • Hey Karl, one last point. Oakley discontinued their entire line of MP3 sunglasses. But they still sold $500M of them, hmmm makes your point about Google Glass being discontinued a little off the mark. Successful products discontinued all the time when they hit their EOL.

      You should know something about EOL and PLM as an engineer. End of life (EOL), in the context of manufacturing and product lifecycles, is the final stages of a product’s existence (think Google Glass 1). Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a systematic approach to managing the series of changes a product goes through, from its design and development to its ultimate retirement or disposal.

      Also I’d like to comment that at CES I saw people wearing Google Glass, but I think the majority of units were sent to software developers and were being tested for enterprise applications. NYPD, Dubai Police (all there cops wear them), etc.

      • Yes, you will see a few a CES but never on an airplane. There are definitely “industrial” applications for HMD, but the question at hand is whether they will make it as a consumer product.

        Maybe they are just too cool for everyday people.


    • I suggest you do a Google search on “Google Glass Failure.” You will see a lot of excuses being made and some people outlining different things that went wrong.

      You really have a lot of venom for somebody posting on a blog. Methinks thou doth protest too much. Why do you care so much if I am so insignificant? If you are really secure in what you are saying, it will be proven out. You can throw around all the analogies and “its just like”, but for every analogy that is linked to a success there are a 100 that fail.


  13. Karl, there is a difference between posting your doubts on this blog and putting them in your head mounted display centered article on Seeking Alpha. I know you understand the difference, and you obviously left out your doubtful comments so you could profit from your investment. I get it. Makes sense. Way to look out for number one. I guess people now know your integrity is lacking and your remarks can not be trusted. That is a big part of the reason I have questioned your recent negative comments about head mounted displays. You lack integrity and you can not be trusted. Also, every, major consumer electronics producer is creating some form of head mounted display. Is the public supposed to believe all those companies are wrong about their dedication to this new product, but, boy genius, Karl Guttag, “The Only Senior Fellow,” to grace Texas Instruments, could not possibly be wrong. Get lost. This is my last exchange with you. The smell of stagnant character and integrity is more than I can take with out vomiting anymore.

  14. Hi, I was part of the Google Glass Explorer program and there is enough interest and market demand to make a product that is successful. We have a webpage for Google Glass with over 1 million followers.

    When the new version of Glass is released and it cost under $600, that would be a great product launch if the Google Glass people that are part of the group buy a pair = $600 million in sales.

    Many of the followers on the Google Glass page actually bought the prototype test unit that Google just stopped selling. I think they probably should have waited to put out a more refined test unit, but it was just a unit that Google could start gathering data and feedback for marketing and design research.


    Who knows if Google will sell 10 million, 20 million, 50 million of Glass 2, but all they need to do is sell 1 million to have a profitable product and make a lot of money. It will also advance the technology too.

    • Mary,

      Its obvious that with the size and success of Google as a whole that when they do something and make a big marketing push like they did with Google Glass that people are going to take notice. One also has to figure that every other large company has R&D groups that are working on near eye devices, if they didn’t before Google Glass, then they certainly did after if became public what Google was doing.

      I also have no doubt that HMDs are useful in specific applications. I can also believe at the right price point Google could push out 1MU. Heck in 1975-1976 a company sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Rock.

      The question to is whether beyond being the coolest person on the block which wears out quickly, is the average person going to find them useful on an everyday basis? There are a number of serious unsolved problems with the way HMDs work with humans versus direct view display devices. I plan on getting into some of these issues in some blog articles.


      • Thank you for the reply. Not sure I can draw a parallel between Google Glass and a rock, but thank you for the sarcasm.

        I think you said only 10K pair of the first Google Glass was sold and then someone said 800K pair. It seems like 10K is a very low guess whereas 800K might be to many. Just by looking at the Glass member page with 1M members, I would think that it would make more sense that Google sold more than 250K pair at a very minimum.

        Also, I read Jerry’s comments above and looked at the Oakley’s and they made some nice money with MP3 Sunglasses. I have never seen a pair of MP3 Oakleys ever but the pictures look nice.

        My Glass is only used for certain activities and I don’t wear it all day long. It’s more comparable to a Bluetooth ear piece that I only use when I drive or other activity and want to talk on the phone without hold the phone.

        For me, Glass is a complementary device that works with your cell phone and I definitely see them being used for lots of industrial applications and Dr’s, Police, Firefighters, etc to display important information that enhances their job.

        Thinking about it, Glass could sell tens of millions for industrial applications and that is compelling enough to make a company want to build it.

        I also have been reading about Hololens and that looks like a great complementary gaming accessory like Xbox Kinnect. Xbox has been very successful selling more than 78M units (2013) and if those gaming people buy Hololens that would be some nice sales. Every Xbox has 2 or more controllers and if Microsoft get the price down, this could easily be 15M Hololens sold to existing Xbox customers.

        Have a nice day

      • Mary,

        My 10K number is probably low due to the size and power of Google. I’m doubtful they sold 250K units as that would be a lot of developers but it is possible to hide 250K units in the whole world. Within a week of the iPad announcement, they were showing up in airplanes on a regular basis. But from what I could see of the few people that tried to use it, it was more of a “once (or try for a few day) and done” experience. HMD is one of those concepts that generally does not live up to people’s expectations.

        You really shouldn’t be using GG while driving as it is both distracting (and makes you eyes look away from the road) and affects your vision (the beam splitter is still in your vision). It sounds like most of what you use it for could be satisfied with a Bluetooth headset. What did you do with GG when you were NOT wearing it?

        I also get that MS HoloLens would seem attractive to gamers, but once again I would think it will be difficult to live up to expectations. 3D headsets have made several runs at this market over the years without much success.



      • Hi,

        I put them in my purse. It actually works just fine using glass with GPS and driving and would even work better if they put the image in the middle of glasses. Someone posted a company named Vuzix on here and it looks like they are putting the screen in in the lenses of the glasses to create augment reality – see through. This would create a good HUD screen for maps and speed and other important information your car could display. I disagree with your comment that the beam splitter is in my field of vision. It is actually just up to the right and all I need to do is slightly glance up to see my cars speed and map. i can still see the road in front of me, not distracting at all. Give it a try. Do you own a pair of them for testing?

        Here’s a short list of some of the apps that are available.


        Also I have been using my Glass when I run to display text messages and info and call directions etc. Use it when I drive to display speed with app called Speed HUD and also you DriveSafe4Glass that warns you when you are dozing off behind the wheel. It’s really not distracting at all to drive with Glass and actually safer that trying to look at my cell phone for directions and incoming text because I don’t have to look down and fumble with my phone. I can also respond to text via voice commands.

        I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with for Glass 2 and hope they are more like the Vuzix.


  15. Hello Karl,

    I am new to LCoS and had questions about the manufacturing process. Is it similar to CMOS sensors? Things are rapidly advancing in CMOS technology, this article was very interesting about how they are able to make pixels smaller and pack more on a chip. Would this type of technology be good for LCoS too and do they same principals apply?

    I’m interested in CMOS sensors from Himax, but they have LCoS in some interesting products like the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU_PHEW6luo&spfreload=10 and Google Glass.


    I found your blog doing research on Himax CMOS and Petcube. http://blog.petcube.com Petcube tested 20 different CMOS vendors until they found Himax.

    Do you think that their partnership with TowerJazz could be for LCoS chips too? Are LCoS made like CMOS? Thanks for clarifying.


    • Jose,

      There are some similarities, namely that they are both sealed with glass, but major differences between CMOS camera sensors and LCoS. So the simple answer is that their manufacturing process is very different.

      With CMOS there is a diode that is illuminated by light that is use to sense the light. They make that diode smaller and more light sensitive to go to ever higher resolutions. Basically put, the limit on resolution is the diode size, sensitivity, an noise immunity and the associated circuitry.

      With LCoS the CMOS process is generally much simpler but the assembly of the glass with the liquid crystal sandwiched between is much more difficult. There is either a single SRAM (static RAM bit) or a single transistor and a capacitor under each “mirror/pixel”. Generally the digital LCoS devices use the SRAM bit and the analog LCoS (which Himax uses) use the transistor and capacitor (although it is possible to use a transistor and capacitor for digital). There is a very thin aluminum (thin aluminum smoother/more reflective) non-moving “mirror” form on top of the pixel circuity. The top plate of glass has a very thin electrically conductive but nearly transparent electrical ITO coating. The voltage difference between a given mirror and the ITO on the top glass forms an electric field that drive the liquid crystal.

      In the specific case of color filter LCoS used by some of the Himax products, red, green, blue color filters are also applied to each “sub pixel” mirro and it takes 3 mirrors with different colors to form 1 “pixel”. For “field sequential color” a single mirror is used per pixel, and a faster changing liquid crystal is used.

      The gap between the top glass and the mirror where the liquid crystal is filled is generally 1 to 2 microns this gap has to be held extremely uniform and this is one of the serious problems as glass is relatively flexible (press your LCD monitor screen and you will see color changes). The LC is filled between the top glass and the silicon in a vacuum and once sealed there LC act to bend the glass (either bowing or dishing the glass) Very small changes in thickness (a fraction of the wavelength of light) will cause both dark state non-uniformity and color changes. Assembling the glass on top of the silicon is a major manufacturing issue.

      The more serious limit on the resolution of LCoS is not so much the circuitry underneath but the fact that the electric field between the mirror and the top glass spread and affecting not only the liquid crystal directly over the mirror but also the liquid crystal surrounding it and there are lateral fields between adjacent mirror electrodes with different voltages/values that can cause the liquid crystal to behave poorly. All this field spreading behavior is even worse for Color Filter LCoS (to see more on this, there is a 2005 paper by Himax see – http://www.ee.ust.hk/~eekwok/publications/2005/p_151.pdf). Various types/modes of Liquid Crystals are used that may be more or less affected by lateral fields, but all LCs are subject to the field spreading over the gap between the mirror and the glass. The gap distance is also a function of the LC in order for it to work to modulate the polarization of the light.

      With CMOS light sensors, there is only air or an inert gas that is sandwiched that does not have the strong bending effects on the glass of the thick LC. There are another of other tricky steps to LC processing such as connecting the ITO on the top glass.

      So while both put glass on top of silicon and both deal with light passing through the glass to the silicon, that is about were the similarity ends. Generally the silicon underneath is quite different and the assembly processes have massive differences.

      BTW, The Lenovo tablet with a projector uses TI’s DLP and not LCoS.


      • Karl,

        You are WRONG about the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2! It is a HIMAX Pico Project.

        On page 2 under graphics projector. If you want, I will get the BOM from Lenovo that list Himax as the supplier. Why are you so ANTI Himax?


        852×480 0.29″ Color Sequential LCOS Module
        General Description
        HX7327 is an active matrix liquid crystal display with resolutions of 852X480. Horizontal digital data drivers and vertical scan drivers are integrated with pixel device to meet the performance demands of high-speed and high–resolution display applications.

        HX7327 embedded timing controller generates internal control signals and display high-brightness and high-contrast ratio image quality by color sequential process. HX7327 received 8-bits x 2 dots of digital display data per positive clock edge and 8-bits x 2 dots of digital display data per negative clock edge from external, and generates corresponding voltage output of 256-level gray scale. Besides, HX7327 added thermal sensor and heater to improve the performance while operating in a cold environment.

        HX7327 is ideal for embedded and multimedia projector application.

      • Mike,

        I don’t know what your problem is but you need to read the document you linked to more carefully. Below I am quoting directly from the second pages of the document you linked it says that is has a DLP projector. I’m not being anti-Himax, I am stating a FACT.

        Several companies make WVGA panels including TI and Himax. There are good odds that Himax makes the display drivers that drive the main LCD display so they may be in the BOM, but not making the projector.

        As a second reference Texas Instruments says they were showing the Yogo 2 with the TI DLP chip in it: https://twitter.com/txinstruments/status/553310642783125508

        From page 2 of http://www.lenovo.com/psref/pdf/Lenovo_YOGA_Tablet_2_Pro.pdf
        Graphics Projector
        Embeded Projector,
        DLP(Digital Light Procession) type,
        Light source : RGB LED; Resolution 854×480; Aspect Ratio: 16:9
        Brightness: 30-35 lm; Projection Distance >0.3m
        Throw Ratio: 1.65 +/- 0.02“

      • Hi Karl,
        Can Himax Lcos be used in E-Ink textured walls and digital signage displays? Also, this is a long stretch but can it be used to speed up relays in fiber optics in Google Fiber cables?
        Thank you for making us more knowledgeable in this exciting technology.

      • LCOS is for making very small displays. I don’t see how this has anything to do with E-Ink.

        LCOS has been used in optical switching in some level of volume (I know of at least one company that makes a lot of them).


      • This sound interesting, so they use LCoS for fiber optic switching boxes? Would you mind sharing the company that does this type of stuff, I’d like to research and write a paper on it for school.

        Thank you

      • I have not done anything directly with LCOS and optical switching, but I just know that it has been done. You can Google “LCOS Optical Switching” and “lcos switching telecommunication” and you will find hundreds or thousands to millions of references.


  16. Hi Karl,

    I am enjoying reading through the posts and I appreciate your perspective. What are your thoughts, if any, on the significance of Kopin’s nano jet production process?
    Thank you for your comments.

    • I don’t know anything specific about it, but everyone has their own LC fill process. This sounds like what is known as “one drop fill” where a precisely measured amount (there is a extremely small amount of LC per LCOS device that would have to be very precisely measured) of LC is deposited versus the common fill in a vacuum with a fill port and then seal method. One drop fill supports faster and better assembly and can be fully automated. Many companies have worked on on drop fill through the years (for at least 10 years that I know of).

      It is hard to know without more information whether Kopin’s is significantly better than what other companies have been doing. Kopin has a transmissive LCOS where they “lift” the transistors off an put them on a transparent substrate and then use color filters. Reflective LCOS generally is more efficient (the color filters block more than 3/4ths of the light) which lets it support higher brightness.


  17. Good evening Karl,

    I have a patent question regarding Color Filter LCoS vs Color Sequential. CF would use three films over the LCoS and would require a white light to reproduce the colors and CS would need RGB lights kind of like a pin wheel spinning in front of it?

    I thought I read somewhere that CF would need a RGB pixel of the chip, but couldn’t that be reproduced by using layered films with some kind of waveguide built into the film that would reproduce the colors when a white light is used?

    I’m no expert in this technology but found this Himax patent interesting since it pertains to their Front Lit technology and was something they have been working on since 2010.


    Thank you for looking at this and providing your insight.

    • Wilson,

      I’m not sure you have a fully formed concept with the waveguides or at least it is not described well enough to comment on. Layers of films would have all kinds of problems including issues with the LC behavior.

      Color field sequential is very simple because they just sequence R, G, and B LEDs (they are very fast switching compared to LCOS).

      Himax has been working on color filter LCOS since before 2005. There are several papers on it from that era.

      You might be interested in a JVC paper by W. P. Bleha who is one of the early developers of LCOS from about 1999. In the paper they discuss holographic filtering of the light. This would in theory result in very low losses compared to color filtering, but I never saw this make it to market in the last 15 years. See: http://www.broadcaststore.com/pdf/model/661167/whitepap.pdf — See page 7 Fig 11.


      • Thank you. Just trying to learn about this because this is what the new Front Lit LCoS that Himax is using. They are using color filter in layers. They first applied for a patent and received it in 2010 and then modified it. I’m not an expert but it looks like they figured out a way to use color filters and a white light in their new design. That will eliminate the need for 3 leds and also the need for a RGB pixel on the chip, right?

      • Wilson,

        The patent application you sited appears (on quick inspect) to just be getting to some details as to a way to apply filters. Color filters are ALWAYs applied in a series of layers that are usually selectively masked. With the patent in question they overlap some layers. They are also supporting “subtractive primaries” such as yellow and cyan which is a well known way to boost somewhat the light output (it has been done for over a decade with direct view LCDs and with DLP with color wheels with colors other than RGB.

        I don’t see anything really earth shattering in my quick look at the patent application.

        Using subtractive primaries has the disadvantage of needing more “sub pixels” (a “sub pixel” is each of the colors that makes up a pixel) is it takes more of them to make a pixel and thus the resolution tends to be reduced for the same number of subpixels. Note each sub pixel needs to have its own “mirror”/transistor and because of the spread of the electric fields and lateral fields between mirrors/electrodes the sub-pixels limit the resolution. For more on lateral fields with color filters, I would recommend reading the 2005 paper below:



  18. Hi Karl,

    Why are you so anti Himax? Himax’s front lit Lcos is the only viable option for smart glasses, HUDs etc. Why, the tech is really good, Size matters (Front-lit Lcos can “hide” inside the smart glasses/HUD and Himax has the manufacturing horse power to deliver in mass quantities and for a affordable price.

    Are you shorting the stock?

    • I’m not being overly negative, I am just suggesting there are alternatives. I’m definitely not shorting the stock.

    • Nick,

      I’m not sure exactly what you are asking, but thanks for the link. Sony has made a number of tries at near eye displays through the last 2 decades, and non of them have been successful so far.

      This Sony device is using OLED which has historically had problem being bright enough for outdoor use. The Sony spec is for only 800 cd/m-sq which is pretty low for outdoor use. It uses what I would call a very small/thin combiner to reduce forward view obstruction, but this will result in a small FOV (and note they don’t give the FOV). It looks similar to Docomo’s 2010 Walker AR demo device http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/06/ntt-docomos-ar-walker-is-augmented-reality-at-its-finest-video/.

      The problem with the very small display output port and being as far away as a person’s glasses is that my necessity (physics) the image size (FOV) will be very small. Additionally this type of optical solution generally has a very small exit pupil meaning that you will only see the image if it is adjusted just right. I tried on the Docom device back in 2010 and it was a real trick to get to see the image.

      Overall, I don’t see a lot of potential for this particular configuration.


  19. Thank you for your blog. Evolutionary wise, gossip is easier to grasp than engineering. However, I find the engineering posts in the blog more interesting.
    To my question: Do you know of a commercial LCoS module (including illumination unit) other than the Front Lit LCoS (Preferebly without color filters) ?
    Secondly, out of curiosity: I reckon the liquid crystal is oriented along the electric field in “on” state (vertical to the display), thus having no affect on the polarization. Is the crystal parallel to display in the “off” state ? what physical mechanism confines its orientation ?

    • Omer, “front lit LCOS” is pretty much all LCOS except the “transmissive LCOS” developed by Kopin. The companies with panels include Himax, Syndiant, Omnivision, and Citizen Finetech Miyota.

      All the common LCOS technologies work by manipulating the polarization of light. The light illuminating them needs to be polarized. There are “normally white” devices (generally Tn) and “normally black” (usually VAN) type liquid crystals. The axis of rotation between Tn and Van are very different.

      I’m not sure which angles you are interested in. There is the “acceptance angle” of the light on the panel and as the angle of light becomes wider, the contrast tends to go down.

      If you could clarify what you are looking for at bit, I may be able to be of more help.


      • “If you could clarify what you are looking for at bit, I may be able to be of more help.”

        I am actually looking for a commercial color sequential LCoS module, (including the illumination unit and LEDs).

      • Omer,

        I don’t know of anyone that has just the illumination and the panel. The illumination is generally integral to the whole optical design so if a company has the illumination, they will have the whole optical engine.

        iView used to have LCOS optical engines, but right now they only publicly offer DLP engines (they may still have some old LCOS designs). You best best would be to work through the panel makers as in Himax, Syndiant, Citizen Finetech Miyota, Omnivision as they should know who have illumination and optics that work with their LCOS panels. Most of the designs will be field sequential with the rare exception of a few designs aimed at the Himax panel.

        The problem is that the pico projector market never really took off in a big way and therefore the infrastructure in terms of design options is relatively limited.


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