Lumus and SCHOTT Strengthen Manufacturing Partnership to Meet the Growing Global Market Demand for Optical AR Glasses

Lumus, the pioneering developer of reflective waveguide technology for augmented reality (AR) eyewear, announced today that it is expanding its five-year long partnership with SCHOTT, international technology group and manufacturer of high-tech materials and optics including SCHOTT RealView® high-index wafers and reflective waveguides, to meet the growing worldwide demand for optical AR glasses.

To support this expanded partnership, SCHOTT is now significantly enhancing its manufacturing footprint in Penang, Malaysia, by adding a new production facility. The Malaysia plant has been in operation for more than 50 years; employs more than 1,000 passionate #glasslovers; and serves as a manufacturing hub for optical components used in consumer electronics, industrial, and medical applications.

The announcement was made on the opening day of SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco, California at SCHOTT Booth #6311.

“In early 2019, Lumus and SCHOTT began a strategic partnership with the goal of enabling cost-effective, mass-scale manufacturing of the reflective waveguides featured in our Lumus 2D Maximus architecture,” Lumus CEO Ari Grobman said today. “Now, SCHOTT is processing waveguides for our next-generation Z-Lens waveguide architecture that enables us to develop even smaller, lighter AR eyeglasses with high-resolution image quality, outdoor-compatible brightness, and seamless Rx integration. The success of our partnership is helping to make high quality optical AR glasses a practical reality for the mass market.”

In the first phase of the five-year partnership, SCHOTT established a sampling line in Malaysia, where it successfully developed the processing and metrology capabilities to provide customers with prototypes and better understand their manufacturing requirements.

In the second phase, SCHOTT focused on developing the equipment and processing platform to meet the stringent requirements of industrial manufacturing for these customers. The engine of this processing platform is Lumus’s new Z-lens reflective waveguide architecture that’s designed to meet the imminent customer demand for AR glasses.

As a result of these investments, together with the planned further expansion of the Malaysia Advanced Optics Hub, the partnership can now support all phases of product development in consumer electronics, including proof-of-concept prototype development, engineering samples, and mass-market scale manufacturing.

“This expanded partnership with Lumus represents the logical next step in SCHOTT’s history of pioneering innovations in optics and vision technology that turn visions into a reality,” said Dr. Ruediger Sprengard, Head of Augmented Reality at SCHOTT. “As a global leader in waveguide components for AR, we are leveraging our expertise in melting, coating, and the highest-precision processing of glass. We are committed to investing further in the expansion of our processing hub for optical components in Malaysia. With this expansion, we are well positioned to meet the growing demand in cutting-edge optics such as AR waveguides based on Lumus’ Z-lens architecture.”

Introduced to the world last year, the Lumus Z-Lens 2D waveguide architecture has garnered worldwide acceptance and, most recently, it has been named to Fast Company’s 2023 Next Big Things in Tech list as a technological innovation poised to shape the future of global industries.

Featuring an optical engine that is 50% smaller and lighter weight than its predecessor, Z-Lens maintains superb image quality and high luminance efficiency while answering consumer demand for natural-looking, unobtrusive AR glasses. Z-Lens’ innovative, lightweight optical engine features industry-leading resolution and full vibrant color to offer superb image quality. With industry leading brightness, wearers of Lumus waveguide technology will be able to enjoy augmented reality in daylight through a pair of glasses that – from the outside – are virtually indistinguishable from a non-AR pair.

Lumus’ Z-Lens architecture creates several degrees of freedom for glasses manufacturers, including flexibility of the eye-box position and the ability to directly bond Rx prescription lenses. This feature allows consumers to customize their AR eyeglasses to their vision without bulky, heavy inserts, meaning that they can be used as normal eyewear.

“The strategic partnership between Lumus and SCHOTT signals the combined strengths of two highly committed industry leaders with complementary strengths,” Sprengard concluded. “Lumus has created a product architecture that establishes the industry benchmark in reflective waveguide performance, and we have continuously improved the manufacturing process so that it’s capable of scaling to meet the global demand that will make AR the computing platform of the future.”

Lumus holds more than 430 patents, with more than 540 additional patents pending, placing it among the world’s top patent holders for augmented reality optics.