As we sit on the precipice of two major VR announcements this year — Apple’s VR glasses and Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria headset — it’s becoming increasingly clear that both of these headsets have an incredible amount in common. At the heart of all this is a design philosophy that isn’t centered around one medium. Instead of just VR, you get a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality known as XR or, sometimes, mixed reality.
I had the pleasure of speaking with John Fan, PhD, the CEO and founder of Kopin Corporation, who has been working in the AR/VR industry for over 30 years. What specifically got my attention was Kopin’s Pancake lenses, a product that delivers thinner lenses than anything currently available in the consumer AR/VR space. In fact, the slim and sleek Apple VR headset and Meta Project Cambria (opens in new tab) are made possible by pancake lenses, which replace the Fresnel lenses on headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 (opens in new tab).