The launch of Vision Pro in early June has revived interest in extended reality headsets. Apple presents its new interface as a “space computer” that ” seamlessly integrates digital content into the real world, while allowing users to be present and connected to the people around them. »
As a reminder, extended Reality (XR, Xtended Reality) encompasses the three immersive technologies that are virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. The hopes entertained in this field by Apple, Magic Leap or Microsoft with HoloLens combined with the rise of metavers suggest a generalization of this practice.
Making XR headsets truly mobile, however, presupposes that they go on a serious weight loss diet and show themselves to be much more discreet. The resounding failure of Google Glass remains in everyone’s memories and the Holy Grail for manufacturers would be to design connected XR glasses resembling ordinary glasses, both thin, light and comfortable.
Two antennas for optimal performance
However, the question arises of how to make them connectable. Researcher at Nokia, Simon Svendsen believes, in a blog post, that the best compromise would be to place the 5G antennas on each side of the edges of the glasses, directly under the hinges.
The use of two antennas offers optimal 5G performance without having to change the design of the glasses or resort to a power amplifier that would raise the temperature level of the frame. Moving the antennas towards the outer edge of the frames also minimizes the exposure to radio frequencies of the head, in particular the eyes, which are much more sensitive to radiation than the skin.
This positioning also ensures a beam direction whether the smartphone bringing the 5G is located in a pocket, a bag or held in the hand in many different positions. Once the glasses are worn, the limited movements of the head do not alter the transmission of the signal.
Embedded AI and new interfaces
The location of the antennas is not the only challenge to design XR glasses that offer a truly fluid user experience. It will also be a question, according to Nokia, of embedding artificial intelligence technologies in order to automatically recognize the images seen through these glasses and in what context they exist.
The glasses of the future will have to integrate eye movement detection and tracking technologies (“eye tracking”) but also new interfaces allowing the user to interact in mixed reality environments. The optical world will also have to make its revolution in order to “impose the virtual world transparently on the real world”.
These embedded technologies will require new ultra-energy-efficient processors and power amplifiers capable of easily managing the requirements of immersive augmented reality while generating the minimum heat, being a device worn on the head.
Finally, Nokia raises the question of the standardization of this 5G connectivity in order to ensure the interoperability of devices, to achieve economies of scale and to guarantee the safety, security and confidentiality of users.