Google is adding to its portfolio of XR micro-display designs and talent, as the company announced the acquisition of microLED (µLED) designer Raxium.
The acquisition had already been announced by information in March, but now Google has confirmed in a blog post that it indeed acquired Raxium, a five-year-old startup that builds micro-displays for use in AR and VR headsets.
Information According to a report, Raxium was sold to Google for $1 billion, but official details of the acquisition are still unclear. Google announces that Raxium will join its Devices & Services team, which is responsible for developing Google’s consumer devices.
It is believed that Raxium will allow Google to create lighter and cheaper displays for its upcoming AR devices. While conventional Super AMOLEDs found in smartphones measure around 50µm per pixel, Raxium says it has shrunk its micro-displays to include µLEDs measuring 3.5µm per pixel. The company claims that its technology has led to efficiency “5 times greater than the previously published world record”.
“The Raxium team spent five years creating miniaturized, cost-effective, and energy-efficient high-resolution displays that laid the foundation for future display technologies. Raxium’s technical expertise in this area will play a key role as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts,” said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Google’s Devices and Services team.
Google is no doubt preparing to launch XR headsets of some kind in the future, which could compete with devices from Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Snap. In 2020, Google acquired North, a Canada-based company known for creating low-profile, prescription-friendly smart glasses, a sight sleeker than Google Glass. Check out our primer on the difference between smart glasses and AR headsets to learn more.
Earlier this year, Google recruited Bernard Kress, principal optical architect for the Microsoft HoloLens team. Kress is now Director of XR Engineering at Google Labs, an internal XR division founded late last year. According to previous reports, Google Labs is currently working on an AR headset, named Project Iris, which is expected to ship in 2024.
Reports detailing Project Iris maintain a device offering a standalone experience with on-board power, computing, and outward-facing cameras for world-sensing capabilities, similar in description and function to headsets like HoloLens or Magic Leap.