Meta Acquires Optics Company Luxexcel, Another Building Block for the Future of AR

Image: Luxexcel

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Meta acquired Luxexcel. The Belgian-Dutch company provides an important piece of the puzzle for Meta’s first AR headset.

Founded in 2009 and based in Turnhout near Antwerp, the company specializes in the 3D printing of complex corrective lenses and has developed its own machines for this purpose. Lenses are used to correct visual acuity and encapsulate waveguides. This is a glass or plastic AR screen that directs light from a projector to the eye.

Luxexcel has already worked with a number of well-known waveguide manufacturers, including Lumus and WaveOptics. Meta would also have collaborated with Luxexcel for the Aria project. With the sensor glasses developed in this research project, Meta wants to find out what data AR headsets need to collect about the environment to offer smart functions such as AR navigation.

Meta would have paid a lot

Belgian business newspaper De Tijd was the first to report on the acquisition of Luxexcel, which reportedly closed in secret a few weeks ago. On Wednesday, Meta confirmed the acquisition.

“We are delighted that the Luxexcel team has joined Meta. This extends the partnership between the two companies,” Meta said.

Renderings zeigen eine mögliche Implementierung von Luxexcels Technology: Ein Wellenleiter-Display kommt zwischen Luxexcels Linsen zu liegen.

A possible implementation of corrective lenses from Luxexcel: printed lenses are used both for vision correction and as a protective cover for the waveguide display |. Image: Luxexcel

According to the newspaper, Meta paid a “very spicy” price for the company. Luxexcel itself is not the only one to benefit from the takeover: the Flemish government has invested aggressively in the company and is one of its main shareholders.

Luxexcel has specialized in 3D printing corrective lenses since 2015. In 2018, former Solidscape CEO Fabio Esposito took the reins and continued this momentum. A 2019 article sheds light on Esposito’s technology and goals in detail.


Meta stalks AR technology

Meta is rumored to want to launch the first mass-market AR headset in 2026. Luxexcel could supply the corrective lenses needed for this, which are likely to be more cost-effective than other solutions if produced in large quantities. .

The acquisition follows many others by Metas and other large companies seeking to secure key technologies enabling AR from the start.

Display expert and industry watcher Karl Guttag, who also discusses Luxexcel’s technology on his blog, is critical of the acquisition.

“This continues the trend of giant companies like Meta, Apple, Google and others, including Snap and Vuzix, to buy up the AR component supply chain. This buyout of nascent technologies is likely to hamper long-term development. of the AR market.

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