Coretronic Reality develops AR solutions in line with metaverse

Chloe Liao, Hsinchu; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Coretronic in 2019 established Coretronic Reality specifically for developing AR solutions for Metaverse scenarios, according to Robert Hsuch, who is president for Solution Business Group under Coretronic and chairman for Coretronic Reality.

As the Metaverse industry has not yet been defined, Coretronic must be prepared for potential business opportunities to be derived from Metaverse applications, Hsuch said.

While many people think of Metaverse as immersive experiences in a virtual world, at its core, Metaverse emphasizes connection and interaction with the real world, Coretronic Reality president Nore Chen said. The core concept involves many aspects including technology, platforms, content of services, legality, and financial flows, Chen noted. Although there is some consensus that the Metaverse is likely to change or even subvert current human lifestyles, social customs, and entertainment trends, a question arises: Would there be any less change or subversion without Metaverse experiences? Currently, consumers feel that there are no killer applications, and the development of Metaverse applications is time-consuming, but from a commercial viewpoint, firms can be optimistic about Metaverse opportunities in the future, Chen indicated.

Because 80% of human reception of information is visual and only 20% from tactile, olfactory, and other sensory organs, smart image devices of any type will become important media through which human beings will receive and transmit information, Chen said.

While visualization of information has been discussed in the context of Industry 4.0, augmented reality (AR) offers an explosion of information that would shift human information processing from active searches to display of real-time interactions between information and corresponding scenarios. AR can disrupt paradigms.

For example, in the past, factory operators would need to sit at consoles in operational control rooms to access data visualization interfaces for monitoring production, but AR glasses can be used to directly receive operating data from production lines, and thus AR glasses can be mobile operational control rooms.

As development of industrial IoT in terms of technology and infrastructure is approaching maturity and demand has emerged, Coretronic has considered developing innovative AR applications for manufacturing and logistics, and thus thinks that the Metaverse could begin from industrial purposes.

In the Coretronic Group, Coretronic Reality is responsible for developing AR components, integrating hardware/software systems and designing solutions for applications, and has developed the latest AR glasses model, ARGo.

AR glasses must combine sufficient brightness with comfort. For some scenarios, AR glasses are used outdoors and it is essential for sufficient brightness to keep images clear under strong sunlight. ARGo glasses can display clear images indoors or outdoors.

Coretronic has leveraged 20 years of experience with projectors to minimize the dimensions and weight of the glasses by miniaturizing the optomechanical components, Hsuch said. In fact, the imaging principle for AR glasses is very similar to that for projectors, Hsuch noted.

Three crucial emphases for AR glasses are optomechanics, optical display and interaction technology, Chen said. For interaction technology in particular, unlike VR, AR focuses on real-time connection between vituality and reality and 3D real-time interaction, and thus immediate display of perfect effects in bonding virtuality and reality is essential, Chen noted.

Bonding of virtuality and reality is the process of shifting display of information from 2D to 3D and generating interactions through using location data with six degrees of freedom in 3D space to position interacting information, Chen indicated. Therefore, appropriate display of locations or even true interactions between information and real objects without feeling out of place relies on advanced technology of optical correction as well as integrating technologies of recognizing images, objects, and space to reach optimal display effects, Chen explained.

In the future, ideal Metaverse products will be not only display information but also interactions between information and objects as well as interactions and sharing among many persons to reach actual fusion of virtuality and reality, Chen noted. Before engineers can reach such ideal applications, they must break through formidable technological barriers, and this is the reason for focusing Metaverse applications on 3D displays such as navigational displays at present, Chen indicated.

Unlike digital projectors, use of AR glasses alone is very difficult for the time being, Hsuch said. AR glasses must support hardware/software integration, scenario-based algorithms and diverse connections , Hsuch noted. For example, application of AR glasses to factories needs connection with manufacturing-use systems such as MESs (manufacturing execution systems) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, as well as 5G technology to reach high resolution and low latency, Hsuch indicated.

Because no commercial-off-the-shelf display technologies can meet all requirements in various applications, it is thus necessary to customize optical and optomechanical components based on users' demands, Hsuch said. Such customization entails technological integration across industries and domains, making system integration difficult, Hsuch noted. This is the reason for Coretronic Reality to position itself as a provider of AR solutions for various scenarios by virtue of Coretronic's technological support, Hsuch indicated. To minimize challenges to application and facilitate clients' use, Coretronic Reality capitalizes on Coretronic's technology to develop optical and optomechanical components as well as smart AR devices and, more important, connect such devices with service platforms to provide complete AR solutions, Hsuch pointed out.

As supply chains for smart AR glasses are highly similar to those for smartphones, the advantages of complete supply chains and clustering of supply chain makers in Taiwan will make Taiwan the best base for making Metaverse products, Chen indicated.

ARGo's, the latest AR glasses developed by Coretronic Reality

ARGo, the latest AR glasses developed by Coretronic Reality
Photo: Michael Lee, Digitimes, February 2022

Coretronic Reality chairman Robert Hsuch (center) and president Nore Chen (second right)

Coretronic Reality chairman Robert Hsuch (center) and president Nore Chen (second right)
Photo: Michael Lee, Digitimes, February 2022