Two Retinal Imaging Display Devices at Prototype Stage

Oct 30, 2009 by Lin Edwards weblog
NEC's "Tele Scouter"

(PhysOrg.com) -- NEC and Brother are both developing wearable prototype devices that use Retinal Imaging Display (RID) technology to project images directly on the wearer's retina. NEC's gadget is designed to interpret foreign languages and project a translation onto the retina, making it possible to have a conversation without an interpreter. Brother's device will project images of documents, allowing the wearer to read them in complete privacy.

NEC's prototype, the "Tele Scouter" consists of an eyeglass frame with a tiny projector and a microphone mounted on it. The microphone picks up the speech and transmits it to a small computer worn on the waist. The computer then converts the speech to text and translates it into the wearer's own language. A retinal display on the frame then projects the text directly into the wearer's peripheral vision. This allows the user to maintain eye contact with the other person even while reading the translation.

NEC says the device can be used for many hours without causing eye strain because the wearer does not need to focus on the text.

Brother's retinal imaging display

Brother's gadget is so far unnamed and consists of an eyepiece and optical scanner, and a power box that includes a light source comprising blue, red and green diodes. The device produces an image at 800 x 600 resolution, which appears to the viewer as an object about 10 cm square and one meter away.

How it works.

NEC's Tele Scouter is not yet capable of translating well enough for business users or travelers, but a version is expected to be released in 2010. This device will be for factory workers and shop employees and will display of information such as operating instructions and diagrams. It may find future application in video games and car navigation systems. Brother also expects to release its device next year.

Two Retinal Imaging Display Devices at Prototype Stage
Conceptual image of the visual field seen through the RID.

More information:
NEC "Tele Scouter" page (in Japanese)
Brother's press release and technical information

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 9

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moj85
4.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2009
If this turns out to work well, it will be an amazing bit of technology.
danman5000
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2009
Yeah this is amazing! I've been eagerly awaiting the augmented reality concept, but I never thought anyone had come up with any practical ideas until now. The translator that gives the world subtitles is brilliant. I wonder though, how will it know who to translate if you are in a crowd?

Also, I absolutely love how they named one a "Scouter". Will that be able to display power levels too? They need to remember to put in failsafes in case you meet somone over 9000.
jsovine
1 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2009
@danman5000: It appears that you're only at 5000 currently, and I can tell that without a scouter ;D
danman5000
not rated yet Oct 30, 2009
@jsovine: I'm working on it, just need to be beaten to within an inch of my life a couple times (and I bet I can find a few people that would do it for me). Glad to see someone else on this site has a sense of humor! Seems filled with stuffy old professors a lot of the time :D
TJ_alberta
not rated yet Oct 31, 2009
sounds like this will be a great aid for the totally deaf.
KBK
4 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2009
How long has the military had technology like this (under wraps-out of the public eye)? Any guesses?
magpies
Oct 31, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jgelt
not rated yet Oct 31, 2009
great aid for the totally geek, too.
can't wait for the implant!
fixer
1 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2009
I remember a simpsons episode where homer's brother invented similar for interpreting baby talk!
Then, the movie UP has dogs with translator collars that speak english.
Strange how fiction becomes reality.
visual
not rated yet Nov 05, 2009
well, the display functionality and the translation functionality are two completely independent things, and the first one is definitely much more exciting. hurry up, nec, and release this as a display. we'll find an application for it on our own.

though it seems likely that the nec version is with poorer display capabilities, and that's why they're trying to couple it with a non-demanding text-only application like live translations.

i guess i am buying the brother then.