Prof Eugene Fitzgerald (Co-Founder and Chairman)

Apple Vision Pro: Gaining Insights into the Future

September 18, 2023
5 min

Apple Vision Pro: Gaining Insights into the Future

Are phones and watches the ultimate outcome of miniaturization? Will we only have these devices as technology advances, or will we invent technologies that bring us even closer to our senses and overcome limitations? The Apple Vision Pro offers a potential path to that future, although it comes in a rather large device! Undoubtedly, in ten years, we will be astonished at how bulky these initial devices were. But for now, the Apple Vision Pro shows us how we can free ourselves from traditional devices. We begin to realize that for many everyday activities, bigger devices may not be necessary. Using hand gestures to navigate applications projected by augmented or virtual reality displays that float in front of us, a future without the need for additional bulky devices may be on the horizon.

How do we move from the larger Apple Vision Pro to lightweight systems integrated into regular eyeglasses? New chips are being developed to make this possible. How can we eliminate the need for extra battery packs to power AR/VR systems? Once again, new chips are being developed for that purpose.

Why are significant chip innovations vital for this future? The answer lies in the limitations humans faced in the past and the ones we face today.

In the past, Moore's Law played a significant role in bringing compact computing and memory to our devices. Over the past five decades, computing and memory chips became smaller, cheaper, and more powerful, allowing us to carry immense computing power and storage in our pocket-sized phones. Asa result, the computing challenge is mostly solved, and over the next decade, computing and memory chips will reach maturity and become widely available at even lower costs.

Future AR/VR technologies depend on improved interfaces between humans and machines to create lightweight and high-performance systems.

While silicon technology has primarily focused on computing and memory, leading to extensive chip manufacturing infrastructure and technological progress, there are aspects of AR/VR systems that cannot currently be fulfilled by traditional silicon chips.

For example, silicon chips cannot emit light, making it impossible for them to serve as miniature displays in head-mounted systems. Silicon chips also struggle to meet the frequency and power requirements of high-bandwidth wireless systems, resulting in subpar performance and excessive power consumption. These interfaces between humans and machines, although not well-served by existing silicon chips, still require an integrated circuit-based solution due to strict requirements on performance, manufacturability, and size, which can be best served by certain aspects of silicon chip technology.

Therefore, the breakthrough needed for new chips to address the limitations of traditional silicon chips will be the key element driving growth in the semiconductor industry in the coming decades. This "New Silicon" industry will incorporate III-V semiconductors, which are better suited for creating single-chip microdisplays and efficient high-bandwidth 5G and 6G technologies.

The seamless integration of these III-V semiconductors into silicon integrated circuits, using silicon manufacturing, represents the cutting edge of silicon manufacturing today and in the foreseeable future. This technological advancement and widespread adoption of fully integrated III-V + silicon chips are necessary to enable future technologies on the scale and cost required for consumer products.

Fortunately, nsc is making progress in this field, bringing the new silicon industry to life, and paving the way for single-chip LED microdisplays and high-efficiency wireless 5G/6G chips. As nsc continues to develop these new silicon chips, a lighter and brighter future without bulky devices awaits us!
Source: Apple

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