Interactive Data Eyeglasses

June 2, 2009
The data eyeglasses display information and respond to commands. © Fraunhofer IPMS

(PhysOrg.com) -- The data eyeglasses can read from the engineer's eyes which details he needs to see on the building plans. A CMOS chip with an eye tracker in the microdisplay makes this possible. The eyeglasses are connected to a PDA, display information and respond to commands.

For car designers, secret agents in the movies and jet fighter pilots, data eyeglasses - also called head-mounted displays, or HMDs for short - are everyday objects. They transport the wearer into virtual worlds or provide the user with data from the real environment. At present these devices can only display information.

“We want to make the eyeglasses bidirectional and interactive so that new areas of application can be opened up,” says Dr. Michael Scholles, business unit manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden. A group of scientists at IPMS is working on a device which incorporates eye tracking - users can influence the content presented by moving their eyes or fixing on certain points in the image.

Without having to use any other devices to enter instructions, the wearer can display new content, scroll through the menu or shift picture elements. Scholles believes that the bidirectional data eyeglasses will yield advantages wherever people need to consult additional information but do not have their hands free to operate a keyboard or mouse. The Dresden-based researchers have integrated their system’s eye tracker and image reproduction on a CMOS chip. This makes the HMDs small, light, easy to manufacture and inexpensive.

The chip measuring 19.3 by 17 millimeters is fitted on the prototype eyeglasses behind the hinge on the temple. From the temple the image on the microdisplay is projected onto the retina of the user so that it appears to be viewed from a distance of about one meter. The image has to outshine the ambient light to ensure that it can be seen clearly against changing and highly contrasting backgrounds. For this reason the research scientists use OLEDs, organic light-emitting diodes, to produce microdisplays of particularly high luminance.

In industry and in the medical field, the interactive data eyeglasses could enable numerous tasks to be performed more simply, efficiently and precisely. Many scenarios are possible, including patients’ vital functions, MRT and x-ray images for the operating surgeon, construction drawings for erection engineers and installation instructions for service technicians. Some users have already tried out conventional HMDs, but the results were not very impressive. In most cases they were found to be too expensive, too heavy, too bulky and not very ergonomic. “We have now overcome these hurdles,” says Scholles. With his team and colleagues from other Fraunhofer institutes he is already working on the next development stage of the bidirectional .

Provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (news : web)

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8 comments

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Fazer
2.3 / 5 (10) Jun 02, 2009
I have looked into the crystal ball on my iPod Touch (there's an app for that) and seen the future:

Desktops will disappear, followed shortly by laptops. The smartphone is the wave of the future and in 5-10 years we will all be wearing a computing device and a pair of glasses like these. We will walk through a virtual world, probably Google Earth that is laid over the real world. Augmented Reality is a bullet with our name on it.

The App has spoken!
jsovine
5 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2009
I have looked into the crystal ball on my iPod Touch (there's an app for that) and seen the future:



Desktops will disappear, followed shortly by laptops. The smartphone is the wave of the future and in 5-10 years we will all be wearing a computing device and a pair of glasses like these. We will walk through a virtual world, probably Google Earth that is laid over the real world. Augmented Reality is a bullet with our name on it.



The App has spoken!


Sounds sweet, bring it on :D
barkster
5 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2009
yeah, baby!
dan42day
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 03, 2009
Stay away from the red pills Fazer!
DeadCorpse
1.6 / 5 (9) Jun 03, 2009
Taking Fazer prediction one step further, said data terminals will one day be available in an implantable form.

Said system would not only allow a VR "overlay" on the real world, but will allow whole new levels of sensory data augmentation.
OBSL33t
not rated yet Jun 03, 2009
@Fazer
I think 5-10 years is a bit of stretch.
Maybe 20.
Until it's practical to make miniature computers more powerful than their larger counterparts I don't think that desktop computers are going anywhere anytime soon.
Joe1058
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2009
I'm SO ready for a pair of these!
Fazer
1 / 5 (6) Jun 03, 2009
@Fazer
I think 5-10 years is a bit of stretch.
Maybe 20.
Until it's practical to make miniature computers more powerful than their larger counterparts I don't think that desktop computers are going anywhere anytime soon.


Ah, but you are not taking into account the Texting Phenomenon. Why would people take a step down to text messages when they could talk, video conference, send multimedia, etc? Because they found a technology that fit their needs, simple as it is. They can text on the sly while working, they can hold multiple text conversations instead of speaking with just one person.

There is no way to know what people will latch onto. My point is that folks will take a performance hit if they get something that they really want.

Chats rooms are so popular, imagine taking that chat room with you everywhere you go? Not my cup of tea, but I am sure it is for some. And it won't require CPU speed or GPU power...very much like texting.

I think that once people see how much information is accessible to them just walking down the street, they will want the video glass interface, and the associated freedom, and will opt to spend their money on that, rather than a new desktop or laptop.

Then there is the coolness factor. How dumb will they feel when their friends are all wearing the latest trend while they are lugging around a laptop?

Consensual Viewing could also be big: sharing what you are viewing so that all of your friends see the same thing without having to cluster around a screen, though it would require more bandwidth.

Just wait till they try to ban video glasses: how do you know someone is using their video glass interface while driving, working, etc? Do you ban all but prescription lenses? Suddenly there will appear a slew of new opticians and fitting stores/booths at the mall, just like the cell phone booths now, and they will give out "convenience prescriptions" to anyone who wants one, ideally with the purchase of a pair of video glasses with a very slight correction factor.

In fact, current banning of texting while driving could lead to a newer technology like this being adopted...unintended consequences. All that is required is a drop in price and a desire for the product to fuel and explosion.

There is no end to the craziness we can expect as technological and social changes accelerate.

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