Battery Limitations for Augmented Reality Glasses

5
Jul. 2018

Before joining Wi-Charge, I spent about a dozen years in the VR/AR industry. You can read some of my insights from that time at www.vrguy.net.

One of the key areas of growth in augmented reality goggles is the enterprise space. The mobile worker – someone working in a warehouse, for instance – benefits from AR devices. The hands no longer have to hold a phone or tablet. Information is context-sensitive and appears to overlay on the real world.

These devices aim for battery life of an 8- or 10-hour shift. But these devices are power-hungry. They have displays, communications link, on-board camera and sometimes speech recognition. Longer battery life often means installing a larger battery.

Let’s run some numbers as an example, as they relate to popular AR headsets

A Vuzix M300 AR headset lists the following:

  • 160mAh internal battery supports hot swapping of external batteries
  • 860mAh smart external battery
  • 2 – 12 hours of operation based on external battery choice

An Epson Moverio BT300 specifies:

  • External battery pack
  • Up to 6 hours depending on use

The Microsoft Hololens list 2-3 hours of battery life. In the Hololens case, battery is internal

What is common to all these solutions is that battery life is a limitation. Internal batteries are too small. External batteries are not convenient.

A larger battery presents a dilemma: if it is head-worn, the weight increases. If the weight increases, the goggles are less comfortable. Instead, batteries can be on the waist. But then, a cable runs from the battery to the goggles. Cables constrain the freedom of movement and could also get entangled.

Thus, vendors creating AR goggles choose the lesser of two evils: heavier head unit or a cable running up to it.

Is there a better way?

By Integrating a wireless energy receiver into the AR goggles can deliver several benefits:

  • The batteries can become much smaller. With continuous energy delivery, batteries are a backup. They power the goggles in case the wireless energy delivery pauses.
  • Headsets can become lighter, because the batteries are smaller.
  • Goggles can operate the entire 10-hour shift.
  • Goggle batteries can change anywhere. They don’t need be to connected to a charging cable.
  • A belt-worn battery is no longer necessary. This eliminates the cables going up to the goggles.

We invite collaborations from AR manufactures to make wireless augmented reality a reality.

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