Frequently Asked Questions
What is your product/technology?
Ceres has developed a unique technology, called HoloFlekt® for next generation Transparent and Augmented Reality Heads Up Displays.
Ceres’ HoloFlekt technology enables the design, digital mastering, and high-volume manufacture of film based Holographic Optical Elements (HOEs). HoloFlekt film can be laminated into or applied to any glass surface to create either a transparent display (TD) or an augmented reality heads up display (AR HUD).
Ceres supports our customers through every step from designing the entire holographic based system to delivery of final HoloFlekt films in volume.
How does it work?
Ceres HoloFlekt film is designed to meet each customer’s specific geometry and application requirements. Once designed, we create a master film by digitally programming the film pixel by pixel to deliver the desired performance. This master is then used to the create tooling sets required for volume production. Using these tooling sets, the required number of HoloFlekt films can then be produced from blank film on our 1200mm wide roll-to-roll HoloFlekt replication equipment.
For automotive applications, the HoloFlekt films can then be encapsulated and assembled within the full interlayer and windshield stack ready for the autoclave glazing process. Alternatively, the HoloFlekt film can be applied to the relevant glass surface.
When laminated or embedded in the glass surface, the HoloFlekt film is then paired with a suitable optical projector which can be easily and cost-effectively integrated into a vehicle’s cabin or other suitable location. Light projected onto the HoloFlekt film is efficiently redirected to a chosen eye box, which may be for a vehicle driver or passenger.
What are the advantages of your technology over others?
HoloFlekt technology can transform any windshield or other glass structure into an ultra-bright, full color and compact Heads-Up Display, where safety, operational, navigation or infotainment content can all be shown clearly shown without distraction, regardless of external light conditions. Our technology is more cost effective and flexible than alternative traditional technologies making it suitable for mass adoption.
Digitally-controlled pixel-wise mastering produces high-quality master holograms in a precision engineered, repeatable way. It enables software controlled geometric configuration, and a precise and efficient control of light, which not possible with conventional holographic recording methods.
With a software-based design and digitally controlled recording process, designers have more flexibility in terms of exploring the system design possibilities, and can quickly re-master should there be changes in the target geometry or placement of projectors. Digital recording also means more flexibility in terms of the usable projector wavelengths and projector types.
What is the difference between a transparent display and AR HUD?
Both displays are transparent and present information to viewers, while still allowing a clear view of the world. The main difference is that a transparent display is visible in the plane of the glass surface, while an Augmented Reality (AR) display projects an image beyond the glass. In automotive applications, transparent displays are being used as an ultra-compact replacement for cluster/console displays and for the exploration of novel User Experiences. Utilizing a transparent display in this way helps keep the driver’s attention on the road as essential information is delivered conveniently close to the driver’s eyeline. Transparent display also offers scope for enhancing the front and rear passenger experience with additional windshield and side window displays.
In contrast, AR images appear to be in the outside world, typically 5-10m in front of the vehicle. As such they may be useful for navigational instructions, labeling of external features and warning signals.
What exactly is Ceres’ IP?
Ceres’ IP is in the design and mastering of HoloFlekt film, and in their roll-to roll replication process and machinery for high volume manufacture.
When I think of a hologram, I think of a 3D image, is that what you are doing here?
We are not producing 3D holographic images in the traditional sense. Rather we are using holographic technology to master and replicate our HoloFlekt film technology.
What are the main applications for your technology?
We work with our customers to enable mass-market display applications across automotive, industrial vehicle, aerospace and wearable technology.
You say you offer flexible geometry, what does that mean?
Another key feature of this HoloFlekt technology is Ceres ability to precision program every pixel to an arbitrary light reflecting geometry with our master printer. This enables system geometries for both on or off-axis projector package arrangements, so that we can position the eye box, holographic image and projector independently of one another and offer our customers much more design freedom than alternative technologies. Our technology also uses ultra-small projectors, so it is much easier to find a projector location even in applications where space is of a premium. Together these two factors mean our technology offers a solution in vehicles which were previously regarded as challenging due to limited space, layout or windshield rake.
What range of windscreen rakes are suitable for this technology?
Ceres HoloFlekt technology works with a wide range of windscreen types, even with vertical or near vertical glass. It is applicable for use in everything from the highly raked windscreens in sports cars to the nearly vertical windscreens in trucks, and everything in between.
How big can the displayed image be? Can you do a pillar-to-pillar display in automotive applications?
The Ceres master printer can produce master holograms on a pixel-by-pixel basis in sizes ranging from a few square cm up to A3 sheet size. This is far in excess of anything possible using traditional recording techniques.
For automotive applications, because the HoloFlekt technology can be embedded into the whole windscreen, we have the flexibility to place multiple displays into a widescreen to suit the required application. For example, one or more driver’s displays as well as a passenger display for infotainment. Each of these can be designed to direct the light into the appropriate eye box and, for safety, will only be viewable by the intended recipient. Typical field of view is up to 18 x 5 degrees, however for very large displays, multiple design masters can also be tiled and “stitched” together to create a larger image.
How transparent is the display?
Our displays can be up to 99% transparent.
What packaging volume is required for the system?
Because our HoloFlekt film technology is integrated into or onto the glass, the film itself takes up very little space. The compact projectors used to project images on the film are very space efficient, with typical volumes in the 1litre range.
What is the power consumption of a typical system?
This is set by the projector power consumption and will typically be tens of Watts for a bright, daylight viewable HoloFlekt display with a suitably large Field of View.
Are there any flare or rainbow effects from incoming light?
No, due to the nature of the HoloFlekt film, there are no flare or rainbow effects.
Can you see the display if you are wearing polarized glasses?
Yes, as we don’t use polarized light in our display technology, the display is visible even while wearing polarized glasses.
How stable is the film?
The photopolymer film we use was originally developed for data archiving applications, so has a very long life (>10 years) when recorded. With our technology partners, we have demonstrated that the film meets the demanding requirements of the automotive sector for stability, using lamination processes familiar to automotive glazing manufacturers.
Do you need a special type of projector?
No. Our display technology utilizes standard projection technology using mature components, including (but not limited to) LED sources and DLP arrays. These projectors are available from a wide range of global suppliers, across a range of sectors, from consumer to automotive.
Are you ready for volume manufacture?
Success in any global mass market requires the relevant product volumes to be delivered at an attractive price point and at production volumes. While the use of Holographic Optical Elements in automotive applications was first prototyped before the 1980’s, volume holography has always struggled to achieve economies of scale. This has been due to the constraints of the recording process and the properties of previous holographic film materials, which were not well suited to mass production and integration in the final carrier substrate. Covestro’s Bayfol HX photopolymer film solved the material issue and Ceres’ innovative mastering and replication processes now make mass production possible.
The first, HoloFlekt roll-to-roll (R2R) industrialized replication machine is installed at our purpose-built 8,000-square foot Ceres facility in Livingston, Scotland. This equipment is ready now for the volume production of the full-size HoloFlekt films required for breakthrough display applications across the transport sector.
Is all the production of the films done in Scotland?
We currently offer HoloFlekt film supply from our manufacturing facility in Scotland. As markets develop to very high volumes, we will license the replication technology, while continuing to supply HoloFlekt design, mastering and tooling services.
How quickly can you turn around a design change?
We can turnaround a master design change very quickly, often in a matter of weeks. This should be contrasted with the typically long lead times for highly customized optical components, for example aspheric mirror tooling.
How bright is the display?
This depends on the system design requirements, which may include display size, eye box size and power consumption among other items. Typically, we can achieve very bright displays for automotive applications, suitable for viewing under all driving conditions.
What can I display?
Our technology can handle all types of content, including static images, cluster data and video. Whatever content you choose, the display will be ultra-bright, full color and transparent, regardless of external light conditions.
How does Ceres partner with Covestro?
Ceres and Covestro are trusted partners with a long and fruitful relationship. Ceres utilizes Covestro’s Bayfol® HX photopolymer to produce HoloFlekt films and deliver optically functional films to the global market.
How does Ceres partner with Eastman?
We have partnered with Eastman Chemicals for more than five years, developing the technology to integrate our HoloFlekt film into a car windscreen. Eastman brings unparalleled expertise in functional films for automotive applications.