Augmented reality (AR) is one of today’s biggest technology trends. From manufacturing to healthcare, it is changing the way businesses operate and has joined sister technology, virtual reality (VR), in the shift from novelty entertainment to an essential business tool.
The growth of these immersive technologies has seen businesses and organisation use them in a variety of ways, from houseware companies super-imposing furniture in customers’ homes to surgeons using AR to help with complex operations.
Big technology companies are making rapid progress with both VR and AR devices. HP is building a VR headset in partnership with Microsoft and Valve, while Apple is said to be developing AR smart glasses and an AR headset, set to launch as early as next year.
In the drive to enhance the customer experience, the lines between the physical and digital world become ever more blurred.
The design challenges of new technology
But with new technology comes new design and development challenges. And the high-stakes, consumer credentials means that wherever or however AR and VR is used, the device they’re on must be long-lasting and reliable in almost every situation.
Exposure to humidity, rain and other environmental impacts and devices being accidentally dropped in water are just some of the risks that need mitigating when using this new technology.
The way AR and VR devices are designed and built, and the capability they need, make it impossible for tight mechanical seals to be added as they often are on mobile devices. Liquids getting inside can be especially problematic. Not only can this issue damage consumer trust but it can also be costly for manufacturers, negatively impacting the brand and buyer confidence.
There is also the growing market trend towards the miniaturisation of printed circuit board arrays (PCBAs). As the heart and soul of any AR and VR device, reliability and repeatability of these PCBAs are essential.
For example, if dropped accidentally the protective gaskets and O-Rings can be dislodged, letting water into the device. Often these coatings only protect certain components and not the full board. This can create a serious issue in devices that are open in design and include multiple moving parts such as joysticks and fans.
Nanotechnology plays a crucial role in device development
Naturally, engineers do not want to be spend time increasing the weight and bulk of these devices to stop water ingress. End users expect their devices to be visually appealing, be satisfactory to hold and feel comfortable to wear, and engineers want the freedom to fulfil these expectations in their designs. To achieve this, they need technical solutions that can support those design requirements and at the same time, prevent water and corrosion damage.
The latest nanotechnology provides liquid protection for all AR or VR devices. Rather than battling vainly to prevent liquid ingress in the same way that conformal coatings would, nano-coatings allow water freely into the device and drain out later without causing corrosion to the internal parts.
Moreover, the use of nanotechnology coatings typically represent a more environmentally-sustainable approach. By adopting a reworkable sustainable nanocoating solution for their PCBAs, VR and AR device manufacturers can cut harmful emissions in production and achieve their environmental targets.
The future of device protection and design
In the future, AR and VR devices will become smaller. This means removing gaskets, O-Rings and seals that might have previously been used to protect them. It could also mean using more natural materials such as wood.
As a result, engineers shouldn’t focus on preventing liquid from entering devices. More wisely, the electronics should be protected from corroding when they come into contact with water. This is what makes nanotechnology revolutionary. It is liquid protection that makes AR and VR devices stronger, lighter and more durable so they are faster, smaller and easily carried. And in today’s virtual world, it can make a significant contribution to this exciting new digital frontier.
If you’d like to learn more about how our nano-coatings can protect your technology devices, get in touch with our experts today.