Dialogue ant CEO Qin Zheng: what is the mysterious black technology “light field display” worth 1 billion 900 million dollars?


At 10 in the night of December 20th, the mysterious Magic Leap finally released the first generation developer version of AR Magic Leap One. For a time, there is no small shock in the industry. Many technology media and industry technology cattle have studied and speculated on its technical principles through the information and pictures that have been leaked by the official website.

Light field display technology has always been a mystical field, and if not Magic Leap has been spreading high financial news over the past few years, not so many people may be concerned about the technology and the value behind it. According to the description of Magic Leap official in the digital light field, the light field photons of the Magic Leap One produce different depth of digital light and fuse with the natural light, thus superimposing the realistic virtual objects into the real world. This advanced technology enables our brain to process digital objects as naturally as the real world objects, and at the same time, it is suitable for long time use.

In order to have a more detailed understanding of the technical principles behind it, Xiaobian interviewed CEO Qin, an ant technology. Termite had published a 2012 application for the optical field display technology patent applied in 2012, Spatial Field Type Glasses Display, and the latter explained the light field display technology displayed by Magic Leap, as well as the current development and future application of the technique. The scene.

Optical field shows: mysterious black technology worth 1 billion 900 million US dollars.

Since its establishment six years ago, Magic Leap has financed over 1 billion 900 million US dollars. Silicon Valley’s investment tycoons and global technology giants are crazy about the reality of the next generation display platform.

According to Qin Zheng, the traditional display technology is the reverse reduction of the film technology. The computer records the dimension of the three-dimensional environment, and the display technology can only be displayed on the two-dimensional plane (projector, projector, display), and then the stereoscopic photography and 3D display technology are invented, but the display itself is still flat in optics. Although the surface can sense the effect of 3D, it does not really have the same effect and depth as the real environment.

The digital optical field display technology adopted by Magic Leap is the same as the holographic optical field display technology presented by ant view in 2014. In order to make the display interface have depth and stereoscopic sense, it is necessary to collect natural light completely, and then restore it with digital light field display. The optical field camera collects the natural light, records the signal containing all the information of the field, and the field display can restore the image containing all the information of the light field. This image either comes from the acquisition of the light field camera or the digital field signal produced by the computer graphics technology for the light simulation. Through a specific optical display structure (micro projection array, microlens array, micromirror array and other specific schemes), each beam of light is projected in a predetermined direction to simulate real natural light. Thus, the virtual image with real depth of field effect can be achieved.

Dialogue ant CEO Qin Zheng: what is the mysterious black technology

The stereoscopic and depth effect displayed by the optical field technology displayed by ants at the 2014 press conference.

The natural light is completely continuous, and in the light field display, the light is very thin, as in the plane display, the smallest unit of display is the pixel (also called Xiang Yuan). In the light field display, ant vision once defined the smallest display unit as a beam in the 2012 patent.

Dialogue ant CEO Qin Zheng: what is the mysterious black technology

Figure 1

Dialogue ant CEO Qin Zheng: what is the mysterious black technology

Figure 2

In the technical scheme of Magic leap, the main way of generating a beam of light is to project a beam of light in different directions at different times through a micro optical fiber projector (Figure 1). The innumerable beams of light beam into the eye from the outside, and then form numerous intersection points near the retina of the human eye, which is the visual representation of the field of the light field (each of the lines in Figure 2, representing a Yuan Guangshu). Like natural light in the eyes of people, there will be a number of intersection points, the human eye is selective imaging of different focus, so that people can perceive the depth of the image, so as to obtain complete space information. This depth of field makes imaging more realistic and reduces dizziness, which is suitable for long wear.

In short, the light field display is aimed at simulating the light of the natural environment completely and truly. The development of this technology is in line with the ultimate goal of VR/AR – that is, to ensure that the wearer will watch naturally and naturally and integrate digital technology with people’s daily life.

Although the technology of light field is realized, the product is harder than the sky.

According to the patent documents given by ants, they applied for a patent for light field display technology in 2012, even two years earlier than Magic Leap, but did not launch a product using light field technology. In this regard, Qin said that, although the relevant technology has been mastered very early, it will take a lot of manpower and material resources to convert such a complex light field technology into a product.

As early as in 2012, Qin Zheng began the study of light field technology during the period of school. In April 2012, the application of patent was successful to the establishment of the company in 2014. Qin Zheng had done 4 versions of the prototype of the light field display technology.

But when he took the technology and prototype for financing in 2013, the problem appeared, the market had little knowledge of this product, and the light field showed that the technology was not popular at the time that AR was not popularized. All of them were doubtful, and the project was naturally difficult to get the favor of the capital.

When ants were successful in financing with VR technology in 2014, Qin still dreamed of landing the technology of the optical field to make the whole industry bright at the moment. But at this time, the real sense of bone began to highlight: Qin Zheng estimated that the technology wants to land at least 500 million of the research and development funds, only chip technology needs to integrate light field processing chips, position tracking chips, display driver chips and so on more than ten. Not only that, because the industry has not yet formed a large-scale production, it is necessary to build a production line on the upper and lower reaches of a connected product, which is not as difficult as a small volume of ants.

Qin said that although some people are constantly questioning the huge and delayed financing of Magic leap, we know that it is more reasonable for Magic Leap to brew the first product for six years than the necessary cost and time required for the product to fall to the ground. We are very happy to see the star startups landing this technology, to enrich the upstream and downstream industry chain, but also to see the future will be the hope of the technology landing.

In addition, Qin Zheng did not agree with Magic Leap that the existing AR market structure would be completely overturned. In his view, although optical field technology can solve the problem of the depth of the display effect, but the development stage of AR, there are three more basic problems to be solved: is the perspective large enough? Is the volume small enough? Is the price reliable?

Even for the “high rise” light field technology, we can not escape these three problems. Magic leap One’s products are not very much in view of the product results shown at the present time (as described by the experiencer, it should be the size of both hands and half open); the price of the product is around 2000 dollars, although it is less expensive than Microsoft’s Hololens, but it still can’t be popularized in the consumer market. Price. If the optical field technology is good, if these three core problems can not be solved, the comprehensive experience of the product will not be very good.

Qin said that in the current development stage of AR, it is more important to find the best solution in the three aspects of FOV (field angle), volume and price as soon as the application of expensive optical field technology. A few days ago, ants announced that a new AR eyeglasses Mix should be displayed on CES. Qin Zheng indicated that this product has made some technical breakthroughs in the pain points of these industries. On the basis of small volume, the product has realized a large angle of 90 degrees above, embedded in the light machine and can be applied to display.

Earlier, the analysis agency Digi-Capital predicted that by 2020, the AR market (retail, AR hardware, e-commerce, film / TV dramas, games, etc.) would reach $120 billion. From Google, apple and other giant companies layout AR to Magic Leap new products coming out, AR in the next few years will start a new trend.

What is the impact of Magic Leap’s light field technology on AR and the entire computing industry? Will the light field be the next generation of display technology? We will wait and see in 2018.

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