Replay: Karl Guttag (KGOnTech) on MicroDisplay Technologies and the Hype of Holograms (Part 2)
Happy Holidays! This is the last episode of 2018, and a replay of the most popular episode during the year. Karl Guttag writes a popular technology blog at kguttag.com, which reflects his 40 years of experience in Graphics and Image Processors, Digital Signal Processing, and the types of micro display systems are used for augmented and virtual reality. He’s got 150 patents to his name related to these technologies and many billions of dollars of revenue attributed to his inventions.
Since the interview, Karl also became the chief scientist at Ravn, a company building smart eyewear for men and women in uniform.
My conversation with Karl was split into three parts. This is the second part, which was also the most technical, and in my opinion, the most important. My interview with Karl was one of the very first I had conducted for the podcast, and the episode reflects some of that newness and rawness. It also features the original intro music.
Karl Guttag writes a popular technology blog at kguttag.com where he dissects optics and display systems, including the efforts of Magic Leap. In this, the second of three parts of our conversation, Karl and I get into the details and tradeoffs of display technologies used in smartglasses. (For more on Karl, check out the previous episode. For a discussion about the challenges of consumer-grade smartglasses, check out the next episode.)
This episode is almost a masterclass in microdisplays.
In several years, you’re not going to care about the nitty gritty details of microdisplays. But if you are making decisions dependent on the timing and growth rate of consumer-grade AR smartglasses, you should care. The biggest barrier - the most important missing ingredient - to consumer-grade smartglasses is the display. Based on the technology available today, there is NO WAY Apple ships smartglasses in 2020. Karl estimates it’s going to take 5+ years for the display systems to be good enough. You’ll make better decisions about where and when to invest if you understand where the false promises are, where the real hope lies, and why it’s so hard.
Bottom line: until we have micro LED for microdisplays (not the same thing as Samsung’s micro LED TV tech), we’re stuck with LCOS and claims from micro OLED manufacturers that they will be good enough.
In this episode, we’ll dig into the attributes of microdisplay systems, some of the characteristics of light, and the available display technologies. We get into the weeds on this one.
To wrap up this episode, Karl debunks holograms - both the ones portrayed in Star Wars and the term thrown about by Microsoft and other AR companies.
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