Photopolymer film for next-generation AR displays

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Bayfol® HX is used in Sony’s prototype 360-degree holographic display

The Bayfol® HX photopolymer film of Covestro helps the R&D of Sony Group Corporation to realize the prototype of a transparent display. This display delivers novel and fascinating visual experiences, as the images holographically generated within it appear to float freely in a transparent cylindrical column. Viewers can walk around the 360-degree display and look at the displayed image from all angles. Since the holographically evoked image is very bright – but the display is transparent at the same time – the image and background merge almost seamlessly. In the spirit of the augmented reality (AR) system, this transparent 360° holographic display expands reality. Because whatever is displayed in it seems to actually be there for the observer. Covestro is presenting this application of Bayfol® HX at the K 2022 plastics trade fair, which will be held in Düsseldorf from October 19 to 26.

Bayfol® HX consists of a transparent film as a substrate and a photoreactive layer that is optimized for specific customer requirements. Bayfol® HX gives designers the greatest possible design freedom. For example, it is flexible enough to be bent – as in the Sony application – so that it can completely enclose a cylinder. It has tailor-made optical properties to produce high-quality holographic images. Both the very high transparency of the photopolymer film and the image brightness it enables were key factors in Sony’s decision to use Bayfol® HX for its development project.

“We spent a long time looking for the right material to realize our idea,” said Sony’s Yutaka Imai. The R&D General manager continues, “The project showed that Bayfol® HX has excellent performance for AR applications.” It is imaginable that the prototype display technology will be used, for example, in museum showrooms and corporate presentation rooms – or in the home, for example, to accompany the music with 360-degree videos.

“We are pleased that digital image information can now be presented floating in space rather than just presented in a frame, as it were, thanks to Bayfol® HX and Sony’s innovative screen concept. In addition to automotive head-up displays (HUD) and head-mounted displays (HMD), this is another extremely promising AR application for our holographic films,” says Yuen-Ling Lok, Head of Commercial Operations Holographic Light guiding at Covestro.

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