Project to last 2 years
Samsung Display and other affiliates also taking part
Samsung Electronics has started an augmented reality (AR) HoloLens project with Microsoft, TheElec has learned.
The project, which will last two years, started sometime in the summer this year, sources said. HoloLens is Microsoft’s AR display device model.
Samsung had formed a taskforce for the project in March this year ahead of starting it with Microsoft in the summer.
Multiple business divisions of Samsung are part of the project, sources said.
Senior vice presidents from Samsung Display, Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Samsung SDI also took part in a meeting involving the project during the first half of 2021, they said.
The project will last until 2023, with a commercial project resulting from it expected to be unveiled in 2024.
In 2019 and November of this year, Samsung has invested in US AR firm DigiLens, which is known for its waveguide technology used in AR display devices.
Waveguide technology is used to bend the light from the video playing on a display to the glasses, which is transparent in AR display devices as users need to see the real surrounding around them simultaneously with the virtual items on display.
As AR devices need to be light and small, the internal space in these devices needs to be fully realized, so the light has to be bent in that space with minimal loss.
By comparison, virtual reality devices don’t require the glasses to be transparent as they are a fully virtual experience and don't require the user to see their real life surroundings. The display is fully in front of the users’ eyes, so the light doesn’t need to bend.
In the project with Microsoft, Samsung will likely be the hardware manufacturer. The South Korean tech giant will also likely make the waveguide module.
Samsung Display pushed strongly for Samsung Electronics to invest in DigiLens, the source said.
Meanwhile, Samsung ended support for its VR device called Gear VR last year.
By comparison, its competitors Meta, Apple, Google and Microsoft had continued to invest in AR projects over the years.
According to analyst firm TrendForce, 200,000 units of HoloLens 2 were sold this year.