Sunday, August 30, 2020

Niche to Mass-Market: How MEMS-Based LBS Projectors can make Smartglasses the next big thing

Thanks Bart!

Upcoming Workshops

Bharath Rajagopalan
8 OCTOBER | 1 Hour Time TBD
Laser Beam Scanning for Near-to-Eye Display Applications: A Preview

Bharath Rajagopalan
Director, Strategic Market Development at STMicroelectronics



One of the key challenges for augmented reality is the development of ultra-compact, lightweight, low-power near-to-eye display solutions with good image quality. Laser Beam Scanning (LBS) technologies can meet these key requirements and deliver form-factors that enable light weight, fashionable, all-day wearable AR smart glasses with the ability to scale resolution and field-of-view (FoV).

Bharath Rajagopalan is a former Microvision employee.



ST Microelectronics Presentation
 

October 22
Lucas Ginzinger
Bosch Sensortec
From Niche to Mass-market: How MEMS-Based LBS Projectors Can Make Smartglasses the Next Big Thing“

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Easter Egg Patents

Thanks s2upid! & Mark

Retrieved from Reddit -- there are enough smart and dedicated people posting information there that I can't keep up. (and I have other things to do.) Occasionally there's a serious GEM posted there. This is one.


The "EasterEgg" refers to one of the patents listed in the most recent MicroVision videos (last post) mentioned by CEO Sumit Sharma during the last "Fireside Chat" (recounted here)



AND FACEBOOK


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

New MicroVision Videos

Automotive Lidar


Near Eye Display


Chevy's was good thanks G!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Value Question: Lidar

Thanks Snowboard for the assist! 

As always, I show my work... (and I believe the exercise involved in finding a method is more important than the result.) This is all my own work, this is an exercise, Im not giving any investing advice, do you own homework, (etc.)

Coming up with a concrete number here is very difficult. There is little if any price/value history on LiDAR, and much of what is there is from experimental usage.

This is probably the most valuable part of the company -- The CEO is there because of LiDAR.


Coming up with any numbers here is difficult. Lots of guesswork  (I'm admitting it, the best we can get is a SWAG.)


A few assorted facts:
  • All LiDAR will be using class 1 lasers. (Even though you can't see infrared laser light, stronger than class one could still damage eyes, and there is no blink reflex for infrared light.)
  • MicroVision's target is 20,000,000 points per second, that's a lot of points. You can count hairs on people with that.
  • The significant limiting factor on range is the Speed of light. (see chart below)

A few main areas of likely use: (There are more, like SLAM, scanning and 3D printing... )
  • Gesture Control
  • Security
  • Adas
Gesture control:
This could be huge....
...but after wrestling with this off and on for days, I really can't come up with a defensible guess on it.

The potential is enormous though. You could, for example build a new home that has no wall switches at all, and have anything you want controlled by gesture. (Turn on the lights, raise or lower the blinds, adjust the temperature, etc.) With one sensor and one wire instead of multiple switches and needing to get up to do it.

I could come up with something, but the SWAG would emphasize the wild-ass part of it. After already exerting considerable effort in this direction, I've determined that further effort will not result in a good and measurable estimate of a future reality.


No Guess 

Security

Subscriptions + Hardware.

I've seen MVIS's LiDAR in action at a shareholder meeting. It can recognize people. This has been described on MicroVision's conference calls, and has been described with significant additional safety and convenience features.

  • This could identify individual people
  • Can distinguish between pets and people (or YOUR pet and the neighbors pet)
  • Can distinguish between normal behaviors and strange things that could be of concern
  • Could save face-scans of intruders and allow intruders to be identified later
Home Security Subscribers -- Approximately 10 Million last year

Would a MicroVision LiDAR improve a Home Security system setup? Would it improve the services one of those companies can provide?  

I'm a definitive yes on this.


I'll assume that 25% would like and pay for the capabilities, and they could perhaps add 25% of subscriptions. (Identifying people in the home would be huge, along with other benefits.) At an approximate $75/month additional to another subscription with 1/3 of that credited directly to the ability of the MicroVision tech. (Still a SWAG, remember.)


If yes, 25 * 5,000,000 = 125Million per month. = 1.5 Billion per year. Over a 5 year window you could run that out to 7.5 Billion ($53/share)

Like Beats, selling the subscription is the money center.


ADAS

What is the value of preventing accidents? It's huge in the amount saved in damage and life.

Will your car insurance rate change with ADAS

If you're using a self-driving car and it crashes, who's fault will that be? -- the company that programmed it and designed the system. (They'll obviously put a self-testing system in place -- and it won't move unless their system is working... or you'll have to disconnect it and take responsibility yourself.)

Car insurance premiums could drop by as much as $25 billion, or 12.5% of the total market, by 2035 thanks to the rollout of autonomous vehicles, consulting firm Accenture noted in its report.

Accenture calls it an $81 Billion opportunity. (If you give MVIS a 5% share of that number is $4 Billion or $28/share)

Government requirement. (Something small, cheap easy to install, high resolution is a GOOD thing to have in this market.)

What is the value of a self driving vehicle.
What is the value of a vehicle that is mostly ding-and dent proof?

American Family Insurance: Discounts for:

Forward Collision Warning

This car safety feature tracks a vehicle’s speed and compares it to the vehicle ahead. If the distance is closing too quickly, the system warns the driver to slow down through a visual alert, audible warning, or combination of the two. This warning gives drivers time to brake and avoid a collision.

Automatic Emergency Braking

If the driver doesn’t respond to the forward collision warning, some vehicles also have automatic emergency braking. This car safety feature automatically applies the brakes to slow or even stop the vehicle. Depending on your speed, automatic emergency braking can reduce the severity of a crash or even prevent it completely.

(AT Consumer Reports)


Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist

The lane departure warning system uses cameras to see road markings. If a driver drifts out of the lane without signaling, then this feature issues an audible or visual warning so the driver can steer the car back into its lane. Some systems also vibrate the driver’s seat or steering wheel to get the driver’s attention. Working along with lane departure warning on some cars is lane keep assist. This will gently nudge the steering wheel in the correct direction to help the driver stay in his lane.

Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert

When there’s a vehicle in the blind spot, this car safety feature alerts the driver with an audible or visual warning. Some systems issue a warning only if a car is in your blind spot when you use your turn signal while other systems activate a visual alert any time a car is in the blind spot, even if you’re not signaling to turn. Rear cross traffic alert is another system to help you see what you might miss. When the car is in reverse, it monitors traffic about to drive behind the vehicle and warns the driver of any oncoming cars.

SLAM Simultaneous Localization and Mapping

When robot's start moving among us, this will be very important.

This could have enormous impact in tool and die, manufacturing, etc, but it's very difficult to put a number to it. (Just making sure your tool doesn't crash into something it shouldn't this could be big.

Could heavy equipment scan the area for fragile items and LiDAR in concert with onboard software ensure that this equipment doesn't move anything it shouldn't? Probably yes, probably would save a lot. (Could a crane operator, for example move loads MUCH faster with much more confidence?)

No history --- no guess... but someone out there has a value for this..

Scanning / 3D printing

No guess.... this is another one of those items that could be a very big market, or very small... no way to know yet.

No guess. (There is value for this too.)

The RANGE AND RESOLUTION CHART


Included because it's interesting -- and because it provides understandings of important limitations.

The laser in a lidar must be class 1 (brighter could still damage eyes, even though the light can't be seen)

Range and resolution are limited by the speed of light.

I produced the spreadsheet below after listening to a bunch of engineers at a STM conference argue about LiDAR range. They spent some time 

For each pixel of resolution, the light must leave the device, bounce off the object at the end, and return to the source.


Constants
All of this is a HARD LIMIT, not of the hardware, but a hard limit based on the speed of light.
ConstantValueScaleName
Light Second299,792,458meters/secLightSec
720P921,600PixelsLowHD

Lightsec div PS
1080P2,073,600PixelsHD
Points / SecondRange in METERS
Refresh60HertzRefreshHD X Hertz124,416,0002.41

Adjusting the Refresh rate (scans per second) changes the effective range (Using all the pixels of that standard resolution.) For 60 Hertz, we could use a number less than 60hz to account for error-rates, etc.
Low HD X Hertz55,296,0005.42

for points per second it only requires the number of points and the speed of light to find the distance.
20,000,00014.99
10,000,00029.98
5,000,00059.96
1,000,000299.79
These range numbers assume 60hz






Friday, July 10, 2020

The Beats Exercise

Beats sold to Apple for 3.2 Billion. Why?

This was a mysterious acquisition when it happened. Not too difficult to make a new kind of headset, but that was what everyone saw when they purchased it.

Why did Apple buy Beats?


Apple's Beats Acquisition has already paid off
Indeed, Apple Music would launch in June 2015, and amass 10 million subscribers by January 2016 -- 20 million paid users that December. Less than two years later, and after some redesigns, it would double its tally to 40 million. Sure, the company hasn't caught Spotify globally, and it may never be able to. But in the US, Apple reportedly has more paying users than its biggest rival.
The reason for the price wasn't obvious --- but it was there.

It was not for the hardware, but for the number of subscriptions it could sell.

So, you need to ask yourself, how many paying subscriptions could MicroVision's technology enable?

Microsoft office is a subscription.

In the world of AR there will likely be subscription services for education, games, business applications, or additional fees just to have AR service.

Interactive projection(or display only) could improve the appeal media subscriptions significantly.

Can they sell in a few years 20 million subscriptions? There's your 3.8 Billion. ($27/share)



Secret History of Beats
“By 2013, Beats Electronics was a distressed business by any standard,” said the late PrivCo chief Sam Hamadeh. “The company was in a corner until Carlyle stepped in.” 

The Carlyle investment also gave Beats the funds it needed to keep expanding. That was especially important given the focus on its new streaming service. Beats Music celebrated its official launch in January 2014 with a concert at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, fronted by Dre, Diddy, Eminem, Nas, and Ice Cube. Inside, superstars from Drake to Pink mingled with label chiefs and talent agency executives at the oversubscribed show.

There were no reports of Apple executives in the crowd, but the computer giant was clearly watching. On May 8, the Financial Times reported that Apple had agreed to purchase Beats for $3.2 billion; that night, the grainy YouTube video of Dr. Dre’s impromptu celebration lit up the Internet.

******
three weeks later, though, the deal went through—for a final price of $3 billion. “No traditional valuation measure applied to Beats as a business justifies the price,”
It seems pretty clear to me that it was purchased for getting subscriptions to increase. If it already paid off for the increase from doubling the number of paid users from 20 million to 40 million --- you have to ask yourself can the results from MicroVision's Near Eye Display OR their Interactive Display result in 20 million paid subscriptions? (I believe the answer is clearly yes it can -- significantly more than that.) so those 20 million paid subscribers are worth 

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Value Question: Near Eye Display

NEAR EYE DISPLAY

The Value of MicroVision to it's share holders is going to be a portion of the total value it provides to people.... what will that be?

The Value of Use.. 
"I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list....That didn't look so good, but then someone at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle and a man on a bicycle blew the condor away. That's what a computer is to me: the computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."
                                                                                 --- Steve Jobs


The Near Eye display will allow us to use that bicycle for our minds everywhere we go, everywhere we are, and with everything we do. Increasing efficiency, improving productivity. Allowing creativity to be harnessed much more easily, errors to be found and corrected earlier.

The benefits of a PC will no longer limited to a desktop, laptop, or something we have to sit down and focus on. It could be there all the while we are doing.

Kipman wasn't lying when he said they built that new game-changing device around the display that they... er... (MICROVISION) invented... While I think they're scoundrels for claiming credit for the display it is a testament to how amazing it is.

Taqtile's motto is "Everyone is an expert."  That illustrates the value very well.

Taqtile

My visit to Taqtile:

making people who don't know act as though they know. Giving them a knowledge advantage immediately. (You can walk into a facility and perform processes recorded by an expert. You don't have to be the expert to do it.)
Particularly important is Knowledge Capture

The results of this go directly to the bottom line and the efficiency improvements companies have recorded with Hololens are stunning. (a reliable 10% improvement is the stuff of wet dreams. They're getting 90% improvement.) Efficiency improvement

WHO IS WORKING WITH HOLOLENS?


King County Wastewater Treatment


Will it GAME?
Do not forget Pokemon Go. Games are HUGE, and I think the effort to come up with games for this will be huge... do not forget that there was a special introduction of a gaming company at one of the Hololens presentations.





Gaming? Microsoft bought Minecraft, has it for Hololens... and it's really popular.

Minecraft Second Most Popular Game Ever


How many companies to make AR devices using MicroVision's display?

Well, we know Microsoft, Apple, Google, Magic Leap, Facebook, and probably the big computer makers (Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Acer, etc.) will all want in on Augmented Reality.

(Remember, Kipman said "anyone can make their own hololens" and Trimble IS making their own Hololens.)

Apple is doing it --- there are enough patents and leaks to show this. Some of what they are doing is in the open with their "AR Kit." 

Google Had "Glass"

Magic Leap is AR (associated with Google)

I'm nearly certain that Hololens1 and Magic Leap used the same display.

Facebook has AR/VR  -- And also has a substantial facility right up the road from MicroVision HQ. It is unmarked and apparently. secret. (There is nothing on the outside that says "Facebook," nothing on any vehicle that brags about Facebook, no people wearing anything labeled with it can be seen outside. -- I took a picture of the front door a couple of years ago, and my phone did ask me if I wanted to tag the picture I took at Oculus.

Behind it is another facility that is part of Microsoft, and there is a shuttle running between the two campuses.

They will all need the best near-eye display they can get.
There is nothing better yet on the horizon that looks like it will be serviceable. When that appears, it may still be years before it's usable and possible to manufacture in quantity.

A side-note here. We may look at a device and think that it looks simple -- the good things are. MicroVision's core tech, which is essentially a vibrating mirror, looks really simple. Getting it to work as it has to -- and then also assembling the components is anything but simple. Making the sub-components-- the mirror, the magnets, etc., to the precision required is not a simple process. Developing a reliable way to do this in quantity had to be extraordinarily difficult and time consuming. This has made it difficult in the past for holders of MicroVision -- because we were waiting, and it seemed like nothing was happening. This is now a hurdle that MicroVision has cleared. Any potential competing technology has yet to clear this hurdle, and it's a significant one. The distance between prototype and released product is huge.


What are the "killer" applications?

An important question with any new technology. (If you have the first fax machine -- it's cool but useless... there has to be something to DO with it.)

This should not be a problem with AR.

Personal computers were around prior to the early 1980's. They were basically toys, things to tinker with, until the killer app, arrived.
In marketing terminology, a killer application (commonly shortened to killer app) is any computer program or software that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology, such as computer hardware, a video game console, software, a programming language, a software platform, or an operating system.[1] In other words, consumers would buy the (usually expensive) hardware just to run that application. A killer app can substantially increase sales of the platform on which it runs.[2][3]
For the PC the killer application was the spreadsheet. It took what could be an astonishingly tedious task (prone to errors) and made it happen in a twinkle. (No time to explain it in detail here, but trust me and check here: Visicalc BBC)

After the arrival of the spreadsheet, the PC went crazy.

The killer app for Hololens?

There are several already. Trimble has one - Overlay of design in the physical world.  This increases efficiency in construction hugely and doesn't take a lot of imagination to see how it would. It will save a lot of time and therefore a lot of money. Problems will become apparent more quickly, be solved sooner, and best -- they'll be solved while they're potential problems instead of real ones.


"Benefits every industry that deals with 3D spatial data." Nearly everything we deal with is "3D." -- so the appeal is broad.



Knowledge Capture. This can be used already, and it's huge. You don't need to "train" someone for a job, you have your smartest person do it.... and those who come after can copy. (Everyone's an expert.)

What I am looking forward to most, is being able to learn languages.

An endlessly patient teacher that scans the environment and labels everything in the target language? Sign me up.


How big will the use of Augmented Reality Be?

Microsoft itself said that Hololens would be bigger than the PC.

Microsoft's Stock was worth about $0.09 in 1986; 10 years later in 1996 it was worth $9.00 (A 9,900% Gain.) If we consider Microsoft until the introduction of the X-Box (2001) You get about $30/share (A 33,000% Gain) -- That's perspective on "how big can augmented reality be."

The PC is huge, because it's nearly ubiquitous. It's everywhere. Hololens will be more everywhere, because it can be 'more everywhere' -- not anchored to a desk, table or lap. If you want to use a PC you have to look away from whatever else might be around and focus on the PC... not so with hololens.

In 1976 the number of PCS being used in the US was effectively zero, Apple showed up then and sold some. Then Radio Shack hat the TSR-80 --- by the year 2000 PCs were literally everywhere. They continue to get better.

How much will they earn? 

(and how much will someone pay for those earnings?)

Any answer to this question is guesswork. The value will be significant, because the value it brings to the user will be significant.

There is no good way to come up with this number... {I readily admit that this is guesswork. You are reading guesses. Don't make your decisions based on my guesswork, base your decisions on your own guesswork. If you have a solid critique or method of guessing that you think is better than mine, I'd be happy to read, consider and possibly post it too.... if we get enough people working on it, we might actually arrive at a good guess.

 To do this, I'm going to plop some possibly numbers into the Personal Computer "killer application" and see where the numbers lead.

I like to come up with a couple of frameworks of thinking (always willing to throw an unworkable framework out) and sort of come up with a range. (And after wrestling with this for quite some time, have decided to rely on the fairly basic model below. --- it could be wildly off... I admit that, but it involves the least guessing.)

Method 1 (I claim no accuracy, this is a framework.)

  • $70 Billion Euros for the next four years --- my SWAG then is $100 billion in the next FIVE years, which is my preferred time horizon. (since a euro is 1.1 USD I'll consider them equivalent.)
  • Assume that a display would account for about 10% of the price of the computer. ($900 computer, $900 software + $200 for a monitor) 
  • Use 10% of the total AR market for display
  • Use 1/2 of the 10% as the MicroVision share. 
 $100 Billion * .1 =$10 Billion *.5 = $5Billion.

Using this method my SWAG(scientific wild-ass guess) is $5Billion (Divide into the 140 million shares = $35/share (To be conservative, cut it in half again) = $17/share (This vertical)

After spending some time thinking about it, that's the only guess I'm willing to make here... it's taking an "accepted number" and extrapolating. Trying to anticipate the market with all its variables is a daunting task, and probably not worth the effort, because EACH stage is guess work. I could be off by miles already -- but I think the guess is reasonable and the theory sound.

Some of the basis I'm using came from the video below. (It says $70 Billion in the next four years)


Errors happen all the time with data... they happen even more with speculative future-anticipating  (I know this) Read this for some background: I'm skeptical of Data

 

Quick Summary so far:

Interactive Display SWAG = $14
Near Eye Display SWAG   = $17-35
LiDAR............................... = ?
Display only.......................= ?
                                            = $31-49

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Value Question: Part 1 -- Interactive Display.

I have stuff to do so I need to break this one up.

If MicroVision is for sale, it's a pretty good idea for the shareholders to get an idea of what it's worth. (This is all MY opinion, and I'm not making any recommendations.)

Interactive Display:

This was DELAYED, not destroyed.

From the November 6 Conference Call:

"Our activities related to our Interactive Display solutions resulted in a major step forward during the past few months as customer due diligence work has now led to negotiations for component purchase agreement that we aim to complete this quarter fora targeted launch of our interactive display module in 2020. As customer products come to market, we expect our company revenues could reach $100 million over a 12-month period, following product launches that we expect to start in the second half of 2020"
I have my reasons for believing that this customer is AMAZON. ($AMZN)
The Value question:

Company sale criteria (5x IBITDA)  If it's the only income and is expected to continue at this rate, then this vertical would be worth $500,000,000 (or $3.75/Share)

Or.....

100 million per year / # shares * PE ratio

100,000,000 / 140,000,000 = $0.71/share in earnings. (Yes, I know there are expenses that will have an effect.)

PE 20 (20*.71) = $14.20/share
PE 30 (30*.71) = $21.30/share

We don't need to take that higher.... whatever the case I think for this vertical the range is huge... something possibly less than $3.75 to somewhere north of $21.

Where it ends up, depends on the anticipated size of the market.

Given the amazing potential of "The Internet of Things" this could be significantly bigger than many of us believe. (I doubt it will be smaller.) My own theory is that everything that uses a powerful computer benefits from its own screen. (Doom on Thermostat)

The company knows a LOT more than I do.

Remember this is for one vertical, and probably the smallest one.

Barring significant interruptions, I'll be working through the rest of the verticals this week.
Hat tip to KYinvestor.
 


Monday, June 1, 2020

The Market doesn't Know All.


The Near Eye display for Hololens....

Microsoft lied about who invented this. They hired some of MicroVision's engineers and added their own adjustments, but MicroVision invented it.

There is no other way to accurately describe this. (I make the case for that here.)
 
Microsoft is welcome to rebut this and I'll happily post it.

There is a reason that they would lie about it: That is that the value of it is extraordinary and they WANT to get credit for it.

In their own words they built Hololens AROUND the display.

I do not think that it was to save money on purchasing the company. The current market cap of the company is pocket change for a company the size of Microsoft. I'm pretty sure they want credit.

The shareholders who diligently researched this did it right. They should have been rewarded for their diligence in figuring this out back in February of 2019 (MicroVision Reddit Board)

If they think they can buy MicroVision on the cheap they'll get a no-votes from me.

There are a number of other companies eager to get into Augmented Reality, and this display is going to enable it in many places. There is no other AR display that is even close.

I saw Meta right before I saw MicroVision's Nomad. Nomad was MUCH better than Meta at the time, and was 20 years older.



Demand the VALUE of this from whoever buys this company.... it's very high.