Due to the use of a rugged, power efficient, low cost and high yield transmissive AMLCD display architecture Kopin has significant advantages that will enable them to win sockets for consumer headsets designed acting as smart phone accessories. Specifically, Kopin's Pupil display engine is a relatively low cost solution that provides the perfect optical module for a low occlusion display above or below the line of sight for a user. The current Pupil height is only 4mm, but Kopin showed a 2mm version at CES 2016 enabling even smaller optical engines in the future.

In the next few years, I believe we will see millions of annual shipments of consumer headsets as smart phone accessories. They will look like fashion eyewear or sunglasses but offer the following fully hands-free "killer apps":

  • GPS navigation just above/below line of sight
  • Discreet notification for a variety of social media apps just above/below line of sigh
  • Next level personal assistant (Siri, Cortana, Google, etc.) enablement with discreet display and full audio input/outpu
  • Social media AR gaming such as Pokemon Go

July 22, 2016

Consumer Headsets
Given the following design requirements:

  • The headset should look similar to a pair of fashionable eyewear or sunglasses
  • Lightweight and untethered - less than 60 grams for a consumer device; completely self contained and wireless
  • Extended battery life - 8 hour battery life at a minimum and I would expect an inductive charging mat to reduce the need to fiddle with plugs and wires
  • The optical engine must be virtually invisible - perhaps embedded in the eyewear frame or outside of the lens, but it must be small and only slightly occlusive to your peripheral vision
  • The display must be bright and crisp even in bright sun light
  • Completely hands-free UI with voice and gesture control

Below you will find content from two patents Kopin has filed which show consumer headset reference designs that would fit our criteria. I have marked up the images to highlight design advantages. A variant of the first of these designs will ship to elite cyclists during the fall of 2016 as Solos. The second design below would have wide consumer applicability as a smartphone accessory providing hands-free discreet notification, navigation, and personal assistant functionality. In this second design, the Pupil optical engine is virtually invisible to onlookers as it is embedded in the frame.

Patent filings are publicly available and I sourced these images from the USPTO patent filing website. Please see the recently published "SPECTACLE WITH INVISIBLE OPTICS" patent application that provides a great deal of information on the second design below.​