The Korea Electronics Show 2017, the nation’s largest consumer electronics and technology tradeshow, kicked off its four-day run at COEX in Seoul on October 17. This year, some 500 companies from 17 different countries attended the 48th edition of the exhibition to showcase core technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Smaller businesses from Korea, in particular, presented a wide range of new and innovative products. One of the promising Korean businesses is Mocomtech. Let’s hear from the company’s chief executive, Choi Hae-yong.
Mocomtech was set up in 1982 as Korea’s first venture business that produced display products. Based on optical technology, we have developed various technologies involving virtual reality, or VR, and augmented reality, or AR. Our latest technology is related to space reality, known as SR. We have manufactured and exported various display products. In 1982, we developed a large-screen TV for the first time in Korea. At the time, 20-inch TVs were common. But we developed TVs with much larger screens of 80 inches and 100 inches and displayed them at the Korea Electronics Show. Since then, we have obtained some 500 patents, including 120 in the U.S.
The company’s predecessor is the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Material, which was established in 1953. As the nations’ first optical instrument company, it exported microscope lenses to Japanese firms such as Nikon and Olympus. In 1982, the company was selected as Korea’s first venture startup with its new name, Mocomtech, thanks to its bold innovations and excellent technologies. As a former optical engineer, Choi has integrated future technologies like IT, 3D, VR and AR into his unique optical technologies to constantly create new products. In the 2000s, he developed high-brightness, high-resolution screens by applying optical technologies to projection screens, exploring a new field of “optical screens.”
The high-brightness technology enables the screen to be 20 times brighter than other products. The screen functions like a lens. In other words, the screen uses the principle of a lens. No other company in the world has this technology. The pupils in the eyes are shaped like a sphere. Similarly, the spherical surface of the projection screen is designed to match the spherical shape projected from the lens, enhancing the three-dimensional effect. Our three-dimensional screen has been recognized as the best screen in the U.S.
One of the shortcomings of existing screens was that images tended to become dim as the light passes through the screen. In realizing 3D images, in particular, dark images were a problem, as several expensive, high-performance projectors had to be used to brighten the unclear 3D images. Mocomtech resolved this issue with a lens-shaped projection screen. The high-brightness screen itself is a huge lens that concentrates the projector light on the center of the screen and diffuses other light into the outside. This ensures that the entire screen is bright and clear. The company received a presidential award in 2001 and won Innovation Awards for three consecutive years from 2002 at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics fair. The company has developed more than 30 new technologies each year, exporting its products to about 30 countries around the world. It also boasts its brilliant technology in the VR area.
We’re developing a portable VR device that is small enough to fit into a pocket and a large VR theater with 200 to 500 seats, which will be the first system of its kind. We’re also developing VR arcade games and an urban-type theme park using them. The theme park will need more than just headsets. So we have developed a special movable chair and a system that allows the eyes to automatically follow the screen. We’ll release these new VR products from next year.
As the vice president of the 3D Fusion Industry Association, Choi began to focus on developing VR products four years ago, envisioning a new VR era. He has developed a variety of relevant products, including a pocket-size, head-mounted display, a VR tour, and VR theater systems. The company has received patents in the U.S., Japan and China, and it plans to launch its new VR products from next year. That’s not the end, though. The company is already preparing for a new age that would move beyond VR.
We have recently presented a new technology called Space Reality Vision. The screen equipped with the technology enables the user to see 3D objects without glasses but still features high-definition and outstanding resolution 50 times that of existing high-resolution products. We were the first company to exhibit this technology. SR vision is completely different from previous 3D technology. The new technology separates the main image from the background and generates the cubic effect of the main image on the prism mirror. The two images are blended as one, allowing people to feel as if an image is floating in space, even without wearing 3D glasses. We have already exhibited a 40-inch screen and have secured a technology capable of producing a 250-inch device.
Mocomtech unveiled its Space Reality Vision at this year’s Korea Electronics Show for the first time in the world. This technology creates the 3D effect in space. Virtual reality refers to computer-generated, artificial environments designed to simulate a person’s presence. Augmented reality shows 3D images overlapped with the real background. And the new concept of space reality has no limits in terms of its applications.
In the beginning, the technology will benefit display devices. When singing rooms or karaoke rooms first appeared, sound systems and image devices were in great demand. On a similar note, we’ll expand the SR market. VR, theaters and even digital signage advertisements can use this technology. It is applicable to various areas, from the gaming market to the tourism promotion industry. I’d say our new challenge has just begun.
A renowned Japanese game company has already preordered Mocomtech’s SR Vision, a glassless device for three-dimensional space in reality. The technology will certainly accelerate the fourth industrial revolution and play a major role in nurturing one of Korea’s core industries in the future.