Researchers Develop First Flexible and Transparent AR Display Screen Using 3D Printing – Display Daily

Researchers at the University of Melbourne in collaboration with KDH Design Corporation, and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication have made an important breakthrough in the area of augmented-reality (AR) technology. They have successfully created the world’s first flexible, transparent AR display screen using 3D printing and low-cost materials. This innovation has the potential of revolutionizing the use AR in different industries and applications.

Transparent, flexible polymer-based material will improve AR’s use across industries. (Source: Cesar Nicolas).

AR technology superimposes digital content onto the real world, enhancing the user’s perception and interaction with their environment in real time. The creation of flexible AR that can adapt different angles of light source has proven to be a challenge. The current mainstream AR production relies on expensive and time-consuming processes like photomasking, laminate, cutting or etching patterns. These processes are also low-yielding and difficult to integrate seamlessly with product design.

The team, led by Professor Christina Lim and Professor Thas Nermalathas of the University of Melbourne in collaboration with KDH design Corporation, has developed a transparent AR screen using low-cost materials of optical quality. This is a first in the world of AR displays.

Source: KDH Design

In the AR display industry, this is a first-ever approach. The team utilized additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. KDH Design Corporation will integrate this technology in the visors of head-worn devices, such as AR glasses and AR helmets.

This new display screen is flexible and versatile. It can be bent and shaped to fit any shape, even curved surfaces or uneven ones. Designers can now accommodate a wider range of product forms thanks to this flexibility. The display screen is transparent to ensure that users can view digital content in a natural way.

Additive manufacturing allows for precise control of design and production. This results in better-quality products. This opens the door to cost-effective mass production, which is scalable and accessible for a variety of applications.

Ranjith Unnithan, Associate Professor at the University of California San Diego, said that this breakthrough represents a significant advance in AR technology. He believes it has a wide range of potential applications. In the gaming industry for example, transparent and flexible AR displays can be integrated into accessories such as goggles and visors to provide a more immersive gaming experience. AR displays can be integrated into educational tools and simulations for interactive and engaging learning. AR displays can be used to provide surgeons with real time information during surgery in the healthcare sector. Applications could also be found in areas like tourism and transport.

Jeremy Lu, CEO of KDH and alumnus of University of Melbourne, said that four years of collaborative work had resulted in the ultimate AR tech they envisioned. The technology is lightweight, ultra-thin and highly energy-efficient. It’s perfect for applications such as AR goggles and glasses. The AR technology will also be used for transparent displays such as windscreens in cars.

KDH Corporation’s CTO, Younger Liang, emphasized that the collaboration with the University of Melbourne researchers enabled the development of a prototype that aligned with their vision. The technology is now ready for commercialization in a range of exciting new applications.

Professor Nicolas Voelcker of Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication is excited to collaborate with KDH and the University of Melbourne on developing new flexible material for AR displays. Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication is equipped with the latest technologies and process engineers to create world-class nanof