Battery Limitations for Augmented Reality Glasses05 July 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 the battery life of an 8- or 10-hour shift. But these devices are power-hungry. They have displays, communications link, onboard 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, the 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.
- Google batteries can change anywhere. They don’t need to be to connect 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 manufacturers to make wireless augmented reality a reality.