WaveOptics announced ahead of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show that it’s launching its AR Module Program, giving third-party developers access to its augmented reality waveguides technology. The program is rolling out first to WaveOptics’s clients, primarily original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs), but other developers will have access starting in July.
“WaveOptics is already sending out modules to OEM and ODM partners today,” said CEO David Hayes in an email to GamesBeat. “Our plan is to expand to an end-user development program, which will be the glasses that are available for people to see at CES.”
The company raised $15.5 million in a second round of funding last year for its AR displays. The Module Program will enable customers to prototype, test, and implement AR solutions. Participants will receive a WaveOptics headset, which includes light engines, drivers, and its Phlox 40 waveguide display. It’s partnering with Coretronic, which specializes in manufacturing digital light processing (DLP) projectors, to distribute its technology to clients and help with system integration.
“Coretronic is a superb company with a huge amount of experience designing miniature DLP projectors,” said Hayes. “They were our first choice of partner to develop a DLP-based light engine that was small, light and compact but worked perfectly with our waveguides.”
Though its AR technology is initially aimed toward enterprise use cases, WaveOptics plans to get end-user products on the market by the end of 2019 that retail for less than $600 — which is likely why it’s opening up the Module Program in July to get more developers creating more content.
WaveOptics isn’t the only company that’s looking for more content for its AR platform. This year, Magic Leap is also rolling out its first development kit for its Magic Leap One AR headset. The AR market is predicted to hit $83 billion by 2021, and companies are jostling to capture users’ attention. Apple wants ARKit to be the biggest platform in the world and possibly working on a standalone headset. Meta recently announced that it’s adding haptic feedback to its AR experiences, hoping to provide more immersive experiences to users.