Olympus unwraps MEG4.0 wearable display

Jul 05, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Olympus unwraps MEG4.0 wearable display

(Phys.org) -- Adding to the onslaught of vendor prototypes of wearable heads-up display models is Japan based Olympus with its Thursday announcement of the Meg4.0, a glasses mounted display—yes, it needs to be fitted on eyeglasses—with technology that Olympus hopes will differentiate it from other vendors' attempts. MEG4.0, a tiny wearable display weighing in at 30g, can be fitted on most glasses. The wearer connects it to a smartphone with GPS, via Bluetooth 2.1. The MEG4.0 comes with QVGA resolution (320×240) with a 10cd/m2 – 2,000 cd/m2 brightness, and built in accelerometer.

Options in battery life include the ability to use the system for eight hours of intermittent use, or two hours of non-stop projection. This “intermittent” display mode means the product will automatically turn on the display for you for every three minutes for 15 seconds. MEG4.0 has a built-direction acceleration sensor. This allows the device to detect the position of the user's head and react accordingly.

is counting on promoting its prototype as a culmination of longtime research efforts and on the merits of its own "proprietary optical technology" but has offered no information on an estimated release date or pricing. The company says the product is designed for everyday use.

Olympus unwraps MEG4.0 wearable display

The announcement will draw interest among those watching new developments in the wearable heads-up display area but the most media attention thus far has been accorded to Google’s step into the future with its Project Glass concept of a wearable device with an integral CPU and memory built into the glasses.

In general, say analysts, the strangeness of a wearable device worn on eyeglasses transforming a human into an other-worldly creature is wearing away. In its place is greater acceptance that this is a viable way to enjoy Internet connectivity. Walking around with a small rectangle or any other shape over one lens would be increasingly recognized as a convenient computer monitor superimposed on the real world.

Nonetheless, it appears that vendors bringing such products into the marketplace will have to compete as much on looks and design as on technologies that can make the systems work efficiently. Any quick look at reader comments on news reports of new wearable display reveal that most of the comments, often negative, choose to focus on the products looking too “goofy” or “clumsy.”

The MEG4.0 has not been spared. The Gizmodo report on the announced prototype led off with, If you thought Google Glasses looked bad, Olympus's augmented reality specs will make you want to drop dead.“

Explore further: Reflected smartphone transmissions enable gesture control

More information:
Olympus press release

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User comments : 16

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TS1
5 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2012
The article states:
A:
In general, say analysts, the strangeness of a wearable device worn on eyeglasses transforming a human into an other-worldly creature is wearing away. In its place is greater acceptance that this is a viable way to enjoy Internet connectivity.


and B:
Any quick look at reader comments on news reports of new wearable display prototypes reveal that most of the comments, often negative, choose to focus on the products looking too goofy or clumsy.


Conclusion:
If "B" is the case, then we are far from the "acceptance" in "A".
Aloken
not rated yet Jul 05, 2012
These glasses look goofy like every other AR glasses attempted so far and it will fail like all others (including googles). No one wants to walk on the streets, work or enjoy leisure time looking like a weirdo. The idea has been around for a long time but the tech isnt quite ready yet. We need smaller and better batteries at least, smaller cpu and ram would be nice for glasses that have it all built in. Good news is at least on the storage department we're there already, micro sd cards can be fit into glasses without the need to make them bulky.
Msafwan
not rated yet Jul 05, 2012
wouldn't it better if it looks boxy like headphone rather than roundy & elongated like snake?? (same problem with google's glass: tried too hard to look like star trek... -_-*)

if can hide under a cap is better...
Bowler_4007
5 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2012
why is the transceiver so big ? they can fit transceivers into usb plugs nowadays so it doesn't take much to imagine the circuitry being strung out along the length of the glasses arm and the battery could be attached to a wire so you put it on something you wear around your neck or perhaps strap it to your arm or just put it in one of your pockets... or better yet stop wasting power and attach it to the phones usb port, most phones have a usb interface so an app and a usb cable = voila
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
At a resolution of 320x200 shouldn't they be calling the things, the Kilo 128?

Since they can produce a 32 character by 25 line display these glasses could be a big hit with Commodore 64 users.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2012
These glasses look goofy

It's the Japanese. If you have any experience with products for japanese markets then then you know there's really no way to tell whether the Japanese will think something is goofy or the epitome of cool.

(same problem with google's glass: tried too hard to look like star trek.

why is the transceiver so big ?

Form follow function here. The elongated form is porobably not a choice but a necessity derived from the needs of the products (probably the projector unit, the bluetooth antenna, and the battery)
Squirrel
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
In modern society no one cares a F*** what you look like--just open your eyes in any street.

What will stop people wearing are muggers attracted to an easily nicked bit of pricey hardware
alfie_null
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
No indication of how comfortable this is to wear for long periods.
Regarding appearance, there's no way to effectively conceal something like this; Olympus should just chrome-plate it or commission art work to customize it.
antialias_physorg
2 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2012
What will stop people wearing are muggers attracted to an easily nicked bit of pricey hardware

You have muggers walking down the streets in broad daylight? Where the hell do you live? Central Africa?

there's no way to effectively conceal something like this

This is a prototype. Technology does tend to get smaller (with the exception of mobile phones which are just bloated to the point of being useless bricks by now).
Bowler_4007
3 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2012
why is the transceiver so big ?

Form follow function here. The elongated form is porobably not a choice but a necessity derived from the needs of the products (probably the projector unit, the bluetooth antenna, and the battery)
when i said big i was referring to its bulk..

What will stop people ......

You have muggers walking down the streets in broad daylight? Where the hell do you live? Central Africa?

there's no way to effectively conceal something like this

This is a prototype. Technology does tend to get smaller (with the exception of mobile phones which are just bloated to the point of being useless bricks by now).
thieves are everywhere (literally) so where are you from? heaven (seems unlikely)? oh and phones remain big because people are obsessed with screen size, but yeh as a rule of thumb tech gets smaller with one or two exceptions
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2012
thieves are everywhere (literally) so where are you from?

Germany. And no, I have never gotten mugged (my wallte was stolen once, but I left it unattended in a changing room for hours, so - not very surprising)

when i said big i was referring to its bulk..

As noted. Tech gets smaller.
When you create a prototype you usually don't redesign all the things that go into it (in this case battery, bluetooth set and projector) but take existing once, rip them apart and try to fit them into whatever case is handy.

If this is something people want then you can be sure that it will be designed to be more aesthetically pleasing (or unobtrusive)

Hey, people run around with bluetooth sets screwed into their ears. So 'looking goofy' is obviously no deterrent for a sizeable market segment.

And at first you have to think about professional applications (overlay displays for elctricians and whatnot) where aesthetics plays no role at all.
ZachAdams
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
The question is there need for wearable displays? They have some niche functionality but it's not an idea that is going to takeoff like the cellphone.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2012
They have some niche functionality but it's not an idea that is going to takeoff like the cellphone.

For someone who wears glasses it certainly will take off.

One less item I have to remember when I go out the door? Sign me in. Combine it with something that serves as a digital key for doors and my car: Great. (I'm not too hot on digital wallets, yet - but that may change)

Being glasses I certainly wouldn't forget them or leave them lying around where I wouldn't find them. So yeah: I'd buy one.
Doubly so if it includes a phone (speaker in the earpiece) and maybe a camera.
ZachAdams
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
It's a cool technology but wearable displays are Segways. They was a lot of hype about the Segway at the start but they sell less than 10,000 units a year.

To get the cost of wearable displays down, they need to sell millions of them, I don't see that happening. So I don't see these becoming a consumer product anytime soon.
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
I'm wondering why they keep insisting that all the computing hardware and battery be right in the glasses. Just like earphones, have a wire run from the earpiece of the glasses to a smartphone, where all the computing takes place. The cable could be similar to what news anchors use to allow for better head movement. Run tiny fiber optics along the temple of the glasses and project onto the lens, which would allow for standard lenses, instead of something custom made for the display (might require a coating to enhance projected opacity). Plant a camera into the temple endpiece, possibly on both sides to give it depth. A micro-bead could be pointed into the ear to give sound, but not obstruct outside noise from coming in. Non-wire framed glasses could easily do all of that in one temple and have an accelerometer in the other, while using the phone's battery. The weight of the glasses would be even less because the battery, memory, and processor are removed, making them more comfortable.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2012
Thieves are primarily the result of excess capitalism. here in the socialist states we don't get much of that kind of thing.

"thieves are everywhere (literally) so where are you from?" - Bowler

I regularly leave my home unlocked and walk the streets at any time of the day or night, without fear.

That is the kind of Liberty Americans - cowering in their gated communities - can not conceive of.