Eye-Tracking Applications the Target of Osram Opto’s Smallest Side-emitting Infrared LED

Osram Opto Semiconductors - side-emitting Firefly infrared LED for eye-tracking systems

Osram Opto Semiconductors introduced its smallest side-emitting infrared LED to date, the SFH 4055.  The company based the SFH 4055 on the Firefly platform, which it says is used widely for LEDs in the visible spectrum. The new infrared emitter has a wavelength of 850 nm. Osram Opto created the LED primarily for eye-tracking systems in augmented and virtual reality headsets.

Eye-tracking systems employ multiple infrared LEDs that illuminate users’ eyes and uses camera sensors to capture the light reflected back. The combination of the infrared LEDs and the camera sensors allow eye-tracking systems to compute the position of the user’s pupil and figure out the direction the user is looking.

Osram Opto points out that incorporating eye tracking technology into virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) headsets requires infrared LEDs that are tiny enough to fit into glasses around eyepieces. Furthermore, with a footprint of just 1.0 x 0.325 x 0.55 millimeters, the new infrared Firefly side-emitting LED fits the bill perfectly and has a low height of just 0.325 mm.

Intuitive Interaction and Less Required Computing Power

Eye tracking can support highly intuitive kinds of interaction in VR and AR applications. With the aid of eye-tracking, users can direct their gaze to control software programs. For example, AR glasses can display information that relates to a particular object that a user has selected.
 Another benefit of employing eye tracking requires less computing power than other methods of positioning and direction sensing.

In this way, the computing power can instead go toward rendering high-resolution graphics and images extremely quickly to provide a realistic experience. An AR or VR system produces a high resolution in the line of sight but can maintain a lower resolution in the periphery.

Benefits for Optical Touchscreens

The company also notes that optical touchscreens employ very low-profile, side-emitting infrared LEDs 
to create a grid of infrared light for detecting finger positions.

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