Infrared components and laser diodes change the perspective of the virtual reality industry

Osram Opto Semiconductors, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of optoelectronic semiconductors is looking to work with partners to drive forward the rapidly growing virtual and augmented reality markets. Worldwide revenues for both markets, including hardware, software, and services expected to reach $162 billion in 2020, according to IDC. That”s up from $5.2 billion in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 181 per cent over the 2015-2020 forecast period.


Initially driven by the gaming industry, virtual reality is expected to serve a wide range of industrial applications e.g. for healthcare, construction, real estate and urban planning as well as in the automotive sector. Augmented reality has already risen considerably in industries as well and last year entered the consumer market with Pokemon Go.


Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) employ various optoelectronic systems including infrared emitters, proximity sensors, 3D sensors, eye tracking or projection units. Covering the entire product range required – ranging from both visible and infrared diodes, lasers to photodetectors and integrated sensor modules – Osram Opto Semiconductors is ideally positioned in this field, making it the perfect partner for manufacturers driving VR and AR technologies.


Bianka Schnabel, expert for infrared solutions and VR/AR application at Osram Opto Semiconductors, explains: “VR and AR systems can be served partly with standard products like photodiodes or high power infrared emitters. Other applications, such as 3D sensing for gesture recognition or point sources for VR headsets, require special solutions.”


Osram Opto Semiconductors offers a comprehensive product portfolio for VR and AR applications including LEDs, proximity sensors, photodiodes and lasers:

•    Proximity Sensors are for example used inside VR headsets to determine whether the headset is being worn and can automatically turn it on or off.

•    IR diodes are vital in headsets and controllers. The tiny emitters create infrared light infrared illumination and enable a connected camera to observe user movements.

•    Photodiodes are also used in both headsets and controllers. They register the light emitted by the IR diodes flooding the play area.

•    IR lasers are used as part of the infrared illumination units. They are used to scan and determine the play area.


Osram Opto Semiconductors developed an 850nm laser diode specifically for time-of-flight cameras and structured light applications. The laser diode is available as both multi-mode and single-mode versions and is used for the application of 3D sensors in VR and AR systems.


Specially developed LEDs for near-to-eye projection use, such as the Osram Ostar Projection product family, provide two channel projection with green as well as red and blue combined in one package for a very small light engine design.


As part of the portfolio in the mobile device market the opto semiconductors specialist also offers a large variety of suitable LEDs for different types of applications and designs including backlighting as well as sensors for bio monitoring and biometric identification methods.


Bianka Schnabel adds: “Our four decades of experience as the leading supplier of optoelectronic components and our proven record on both consumer and industrial markets make us the perfect partner to further develop technologies in VR and AR. We’ve been at the forefront of these technologies and are excited to be part of moving the market forward, expanding further into gaming and industrial markets.”

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