Teardown Shows Microvision Inside Hololens 2

Introduction

Just a quick article today on some new based on a Microvision stockholder proving, once and for all, that Microvision technology was used in the Hololens 2. I’m working on a MicroLED series and the first part should appear in a day or two.

$7700 Spent to Find the Microvision Name Inside Hololens 2

Canadian Microvision stockholder and Reddit member u/s2upid wanted to prove once and for all that the Hololens 2 (HL2) has Microvision technology inside. So he bought a Trimble XR10 based around the HL2. As I have tried to warn people, being a Microvision stockholder can drive you to some desperate acts. The Reddit user s2upid spent $7700 (Canadian) just to rip it apart. He simply wanted to prove what Microsoft nor Microvision have admitted.

After just a few hours of trying out the Trimble XR10 s2upid (rather savagely) tore it apart to find any tell tail Microvision markings and was rewarded for his efforts in finding both the Microvision name and logo and on the scanning mirror parts. The stills below are taken from his 6-minute video (note the sound is very low). Warning, if you love technology, the teardown is brutal 😁. What you can see in the still are the Microvision Logo, stock symbol (MVIS), and even the word Microvision on the mirror components.

Microsoft Was Petty and Dishonest IMO

IMO, Microsoft has treated Microvision rather rudely by claiming that Microsoft invented all the laser scanning display (LBS) technology inside the HL2. As I wrote in Hololens 2 Video with Microvision “Easter Egg” Plus Some Hololens and Magic Leap Rumors quoting Alex Kipman, Microsoft Technical Fellow and Spokesperson for Hololen:

“Quoting the ETH Video (with my bold emphasis) at 11:37, ‘This thing we invented with Hololens 2. The technology behind it is called MEMs.’

As readers of this blog should know, I have been critical of Microvision through the years. But I still find this statement by Kipman dishonest and offensive. Frankly, there were many things wrong in that video as I pointed out in the article. And why do something so petty? They were going to get called out for it eventually. But then again, Microsoft Hololens lied about their 3-D stereo images “Holograms” and lied about the FOV doubling.

It Does Not Change Things Significantly for Microvision

While there was no absolute public proof before today, it has been widely knowns that Hololens 2 was using technology licensed from Microvision for well over a year. This blog has written about Microvision being in Hololens 2 since February of 2019. Many other sites have written about it. Anyone investing in Microvision should know it.

More importantly, anyone that would consider buying Microvision already knows they were in Hololens 2 so this should have already been priced-in. All of Microvision’s base patents on laser scanning technology expired years ago. Many of their key technical people left (some going to Microsoft), and not long ago, Microvision laid off 60% of it workforce. As I pointed out in Microvision Worth More Dead Than Alive – Stock Jumps 147% in a Day, Microvision has pretty much put the company up for sale.

Most importantly, for whatever reason, Microsoft (M/S)of all companies never felt the need to buy Microvision. Microvision was trading for well below $50M just a few weeks ago and even paying a multiple would be chump change for a program that reportedly has cost M/S billions. Most likely M/S got a license where they were not worried about Microvision getting bought. M/S also did not think so much of Microvision’s technology and patents that they felt they needed to keep anyone else from buying Microvision.

Unfortunately No Teardown of the Optics

While seeing the Microvision name and logo inside the HL2 may have been cathartic relief for the Microvision stock faithful, it didn’t prove something we didn’t already know. What I would have been much more interested to see is a (careful) teardown of the optics.

Optical efficiency issues, specifically etendue coupling, I think is what drove the HL2 to use LBS. It would be interesting to see if the optics agree with the Microsoft patents. I’m particularly interested in what they used for a pupil expander as it is likely to be very “high tech.” It would also be interesting to see how much of the design appears to have required precision alignment in the assembly process.

Upcoming Article Why Hololens 2 Used Laser Scanning

I’m working on a series of technical articles about the MicroLEDs and the optics associated with them. As a part of this series, I will be discussing why I thing Hololens 2 used laser beam scanning (LBS) and while some other companies are back looking at LBS.

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Karl Guttag

4 Comments

  1. Thank you Karl for telling it like it is. What recourse does MVIS have in being bullied by MSFT?

    • As my father and two brothers who were (patent) lawyers admonished me, I am not a lawyer.

      In all my years of filing patents, I tried to get the right names on a patent at that is the way my father brought me up. I never wanted my name on a patent for ceremonial reasons nor tried to cut someone out or add someone that did not contribute to the patent. I think it is fundamentally wrong to take credit for someone else’s idea, but this is an old fashion concept it seems.

      There is what is morally wrong and what is legally wrong. And then there is what you can collect even if you have been legally wrong. Then there is the question of how has Microvision been damaged. In spite of what Microsoft may have said, it was immediately recognized that it was using Microvision’s technology. Sadly most of the press would not call Microsoft out on it but it was far from being a secret. The bigger problem for Microvision is that there are not enough units being shipped times the price they can expect to get per unit. Also, all the basic patents on LBS have long ago expired. I’m not trying to be mean here, it is just the way I see it.

  2. They aren’t being bullied by MS. MVIS has acknowledged on a call that they have an agreement with a 3rd party that licenses their product for the cost of the same as the gross profit they would make themselves on said product. MS is possibly ready to start making a lot of them. Like in an XBOX perhaps. This could lead to economies of scale… a need to buyout their HW partner. IDK. Just a hypothesis that jives with deal structures like this throughout the modern era. We do it at Wayne Enterprises all the time. 😉

  3. Thank you for sharing your insight and the work of others. I find your blogs very interesting and helpful. Keep up the great work.

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