Smartglasses and AR headset makers like Microsoft, Magic Leap, and Google (and aspiring AR wearables makers like Apple and Snapchat) need display components for their products, and LetinAR is among the companies ready to supply those components.
The Korean startup has just closed a $3.6 million Series A funding round, led by Kakao Ventures, Naver Corporation, DSC Investment, Korea Asset Investment Securities, and Platinum Technology Investment, which will enable the company to ramp up production.
LetinAR offers an innovative alternative to current AR optical systems, which typically project and reflect images via waveguide optics. By contrast, the company's PinMR lenses reflect light from a microdisplay directly into the user's pupils using mirrors, which are smaller than said pupils and, as a result, invisible to the naked eye, while allowing natural light in as well so users can view their surroundings.
With this approach, LetinAR can achieve accurate color reproduction and a wider field of view within a form factor that enables manufacturers to design normal looking smartglasses.
"We have developed PinMR technology, a new way to overcome the technical barriers that have long existed in the AR industry," said LetinAR CEO Jaehyeok Kim in a statement. "LetinAR PinMR optical solution boasts much more superior performance than existing counterparts. We believe that PinMR Lens will fundamentally change the way people communicate in the near term."
Development of augmented reality displays is a critical hurdle in the evolution of consumer-grade smartglasses. AR displays need to be small enough to fit into a slim form factor, capable of projecting content with high-resolution and clarity, and producible at a low cost.
Investors looking to capitalize on the inevitable rise of smartglasses have poured money into companies working to solve the mobile AR display equation with Avegant, DigiLens, and WaveOptics among the display companies raising funds. Another such company, Akonia Holographics, was scooped up by Apple earlier this year.
Just as a truly mainstream AR wearable has yet to emerge, a leader among AR display makers has yet to pull ahead of the pack, so LetinAR stands just as good a chance as the rest of the market.