Posted on March 31, 2020 by staff

Facebook exclusively partners with UK AR display firm


A UK developer of microLED tech for mixed reality wearables has announced that it will begin working exclusively for Facebook.

Plymouth-based Plessey will work with the social media giant on what it called the “next computing platform centred around people.”

Under a new commercial agreement, its LED manufacturing operations will be dedicated to helping Facebook prototype and develop new technologies for potential use in the AR/VR space.

The firm said over the last two years it has been hard at work making the pivot from its legacy semiconductor business into micro LEDs for AR displays, and thanked its previous partners and customers.

Plessey’s LEDs are said to combine very high-density RGB pixel arrays with high-performance CMOS backplanes to produce very high-brightness, low-power and high-frame-rate image sources for head-mounted displays.

In short, this means a small screen can be built into a pair of glasses while remaining crisp and bright enough to see. Though a full-colour screen is on the firm’s roadmap, its current technology displays in a single colour.

The firm has picked up a range of awards including a CES Innovation Award Honoree title last year.

Dr Keith Strickland, Co-CEO and CTO said: “We are delighted to announce this new commercial agreement with Facebook. Plessey has been at the forefront of micro LED display development and this agreement recognises the significant advances in our capabilities that we have made in recent years and we very much look forward to working with Facebook to help bring their vision to life.”

The move into augmented reality is a new one for Facebook, which has previously focused on virtual reality headsets.

Last year Facebook announced ‘Horizon’, its virtual world accessible through a VR headset, and the acquisition of VR headset firm Oculus for a reported $2.3bn in cash and stock.

Last year it also selected listed UK VR platform ENGAGE as part of its software vendor programme.