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Would You Wear Video Glasses? 239

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the future's-so-bright dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "According to EE Times, an Israeli company has developed a personal video display device that looks like a simple pair of glasses. You can use these glasses with various sources, such as a portable media player or your cell phone. This technology promises to eliminate the dizziness phenomenon usually associated with this kind of display. And with these glasses weighing only about 40 grams, you'll feel that you're viewing a 40-inch screen from a distance of 7 feet." Video screens embedded into eyewear isn't that new, but the footprint of these is smaller than what I've seen before, making them cooler to wear on the subway.
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Would You Wear Video Glasses?

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  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @09:53AM (#15276890) Journal
    Much better to wear them while you're driving. At least more exciting.
    • The version branded exclusively for /. members will be much cooler than those shown in the FA. It will come with tape pre-wrapped around the bridge.
  • I'd use them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slusich (684826) * <slusich AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:00AM (#15276929)
    I'd use them, but only in certain places.
    Certainly never on a subway or any other public place where you should be alert to your surroundings. They'd be ideal for taking on a trip to use on a plane or in a hotel room.
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:01AM (#15276931) Homepage Journal
    I remember seeing glasses video displays this small a decade ago. Of course the problem with them then, and even now, was resolution: The resolution was so terrible that it has limited uses, seriously degrading even the already low quality of television.
    • I agree, resolution is key. Though I would be willing to put up with 800x600 (I'd use a larger virtual desktop) if they managed to solve the other problems like size/weight, wireless connectivity and high cost.
    • Resolution is Somebody Else's Problem - the glasses just provide the optics to project the display to both of your eyes. So they're not a finished product, and need to have Somebody Else provide the display, and therefore the resolution will depend on Somebody Else. (Among other things, this means don't hold your breath for a shipping date.)

      According to the article, "[Mirage Innovations Ltd.'s] technology is based on the principle of transforming a thin transparent plate into a complete wearable personal

  • Skip the spam (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:02AM (#15276939)

    http://www.mirageinnovations.com/ [mirageinnovations.com]

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:02AM (#15276940)
    no technology can survive without games and porn.

  • Mind the Gap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by datafr0g (831498) <datafrog&gmail,com> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:05AM (#15276949) Homepage
    making them cooler to wear on the subway.

    Because it's cool to wear shades underground.

    :-)
  • by bananahead (829691) * on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:07AM (#15276958) Journal
    I worry about the long term effects on the eyes. You are constantly focusing on sonething only an inch or less from your eye, and the eye strain might have a negative effect over time. Remembering Steve Martin's movie 'The Jerk' where a device designed to keep your glasses from slipping down your nose eventually made everyone on the planet cross-eyed, I would use this but definitely limit my time.
    • by vialation (885786) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:25AM (#15277021)
      The projection onto the lens will be at a focal length that is much longer than an inch. So just because you are looking at something an inch away, you're not focusing at an inch. Very much like if you get close to a mirror, and look at the objects that are behind you in the mirror. The image is a few inches away, but the objects are that few inches away plus the distance between the mirror and the objects. It's perfectly safe.
      • Not to be a physics nazi, but the 'image' is not at the surface of the mirror, it's actually a virtual image that lies behind the mirror. The correct way to say it would be "the surface is a few inches away, but the image is a few inches away plus the distance between the mirror and the objects".

        Don't feel bad - when I was an undergrad I walked out on a physics recitation because the TA fucked up the difference between real and virtual images too, and I was so disgusted I left ;)
      • "It's perfectly safe."

        On the "as bad as television" sense of safe. But not worse.

  • I might buy it (in both senses of the word) as soon as I've experienced a working prototype making all these promises come true right before my very eyes.

    If it does work as advertised, its potential is huge e.g. for hands-free PDAs in all sorts of repair and construction jobs as well as military applications.

  • The LAST thing I want to do on the subway is put on some overpriced eyewear and NOT see what my fellow passengers are doing!

    Look, there are times & place video is appropriate & useful and times it is not. I'd love to be able to lean back in a comfortable seat and watch something, put my body in a position that is not looking-at-the-screen-on-the-wall/desk/stand. Heck give me a small wireless keyboard and I'll geek from the backyard hammock on a nice day. Airline seat? ANYTHING to avoid the salesdr

    • Anyway, any bets how long 'till we hear the sounds of Battlestar Galactica from the adjoining stall as a co-worker takes a suspiciously long bathroom break?

      Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:12AM (#15276974)
    From the TFA these glasses are being touted as a portable multimedia experience. With the (lack of) details on the websites it appears that wearing then will significantly fill out the users field of vision (which you would hope for in order to get the best viewing). So we have:

    1) Expensie tech (As in a couple of hundred)
    2) Not physically large
    3) Highly visible to everyone else that you are using it
    4) Blocks out significant part of your own visual field (and also audio)
    5) Designed to be used outside of your own home (as otherwise why use it)

    In a private situation (or on a plane) these glasses would be OK, but wear them on the subway, or sit in the park and you might as well put up a banner that says "Mug me!!"

    But a solution would be to put a web cam on top of the glasses, and feed it back into the system as a "picture in picture" so you can keep track of the outside world while you gasp at the unblelievable plot quality of m:i:III :D
  • by Have Blue (616)
    I don't want to shut out my view of the outside world entirely. Using headphones is bad enough, but not being able to see is too much.

    Also, they look incredibly dorky.
  • by emj (15659) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:16AM (#15276991) Homepage Journal
    This is clearly a step forward and will lower the cost of wearable screens, we can just hope it's not as much vaporware as it sounds. I also have some issues with the whole wearable screen tech business: Every "videoglasses" producer has always promised 40" TV, for as long as these have been sold, but usually the let down is quality. You know a laptop 12" screen can also seem to be 40" as long as you have it close enough, and a laptop screen has better resolution.

    I've used the Sony version that you plugged into a TV, and that version was very low res, about 400px in height. I'm not sure you can make "affordable" wearable displays with any good resolution. Even though Mirage, the makers of this device, are using a single OLED/LCD it still going to cost a lot to produce enough pixels to satisfy the eye.

    And I can't figure out how my glasses are going to fit in there.
    • Yeah.

      I saw a couple manufacturers of video glasses at CES. One set wouldn't fit over my glasses at all. The other set was supposed to fit, but didn't. I seem to have a head on the larger end of the spectrum, but still.

      And the kicker... IIRC both devices had QVGA resolution. Rather useless for hacking, and not really that good for TV anymore either.

      If any manufacturers are listening... I want a set that has large image size, and high resolution. 1280x1024 is barely acceptable, and 1920x1280 wou

      • "If any manufacturers are listening... I want a set that has large image size, and high resolution. 1280x1024 is barely acceptable, and 1920x1280 would be good. Then you can watch HD, and have enough real estate for a bunch of terminal windows. And yeah, that would be expensive, but surely not nearly as expensive as a 50 inch physical display using LCD, plasma, OLED, or whatever."

        Don't you think that, if it was technologically possible, it would have been done already, and tiny school children in Korea wo

        • Don't you think that, if it was technologically possible, it would have been done already, and tiny school children in Korea would be mailing in cereal box UPCs for them as a prize?

          Unfortunately, there is a lot more to product viability than technology. Price is usually the biggest issue. If the business/marketing types don't think product X will sell at price point Y, then it won't get made. And though I curse them occasionally, they are correct more often than not.

          It doesn't matter how cool the

  • How long until we can have nanites that attach themselves to the individual rods and cones of our retinas and cause the nerves to fire or not.
  • assimilation! Given the wrist-band key-pads, blue-tooth headsets, I-pod ear-buds, then add these glasses to get one step closer to being Borg - granted, the concept has loads of different potentials once they get the resolution up and hands-free clearing/trans-lucing worked out, but until then, no, I won't own a pair - when they do, it'll give another dimension to the term "reading glasses"...
  • by richg74 (650636) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:32AM (#15277052) Homepage
    Gee, this is really great -- but forget the subway. I'm a cyclist, and I have a "collection" of cool things I've seen people do to take their minds off the boredom of driving, including:
    • Shaving or putting on makeup
    • Reading the paper
    • Using a laptop placed in the passenger seat
    • Turning around to smack the kid in the back seat
    But my personal favorite is the guy I saw playing the trumpet.

    I can hardly wait to enjoy dodging the guy who's using these to watch, say, the fighter chase inside the Death Star from Star Wars.

    • The other day I was riding home from work along a narrow road, going past a parked car on the other side so there wasn't room for anything coming the other way. I can hear really loud music coming from around the corner and sure enough here comes this hairdresser (I assume from the outfit) in a range rover with the stereo up full blast singing at about the same volume as the sound system along with the music into the mobile phone in his right hand and pumping the brakes in time with the catchy beat.

      He gets

    • I'm a cyclist as well, and I seriously can't wait.

      I'm a pedicab driver in downtown Denver (those bikes with the rear wheel lopped off and replaced with and axle, with a carriage mounted on top), I get requests for noname bars and restaurants that opened up a week ago. I have no idea where these places are and rolling around looking for them with 400+ pounds of people in a 300 pound bike is not only tiring but costs me money. Most pda's are too impractical, either too big, not weather proof, or too hard to o
  • Maybe ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hektor_Troy (262592)
    Depends on a few things ...

    First of all - they're hideous. Few types of (sun)glasses look good on people (depends on the facial shape amongst other things), so a one design fits all is out the window if you expect people to use them in public.

    If I can get some that fit outside my own glasses, that'd be nice. Even better if you could adjust each screen to somehow present an image that apears sharp to whatever's wrong with your eyes. Not sure you can do that though ... present an image that looks blurry to re
    • They should include intra-aureal earphones with this, such as the these [shurestore.com]. I would think the adaptive optices to correct for vision might be a bit more cumbersome, but might be possible. My regular glasses are 16g, so 40g is indeed on the heavy side, but not outside the realm of usability.

      You won't find me wearing them in public to pass the time though...they're still quite ugly. Then again, so are those huge bluetooth headsets that seem to be growing out of the ear of every real estate agent I know, but th
    • No. You can't change the display on a screen in such a way that say shortsigthed persons will see it sharp. If that was possible there'd be such an adjustment in every tv and computer-monitor on the planet.
      • You can if the image is already passing through optics to change its focus. Presumably it is, since I don't think anyone can focus on an image that's an inch from their eyeballs. I sure can't.
        • True. Good point. If the optics where changeable there could be different optics adapted for short-sigthed people.
    • The primary advantage they're touting besides weight seems to be that you get a perfectly aligned image to both eyes by splitting a single video source. What I want is the exact opposite - I want two independent video sources being presented so that true 3D can be done. Combine with good virtual 3D sound and you'd really have an "immersive" gaming environment.

      A display like this also needs to have HD resolution - everyone doing displays like this talk about "40 inch screen at 7 feet", but conveniently fa

      • I know this is Slashdot and all, but all this talk about needing very high resolutions (HD, 1280x1024, 1600x1200 are what I've seen mentioned so far) is just silly. These folks don't seem to be developing a solution to replace a computer monitor. They're working on a solution for watching portable video - a much larger market. At [a virtual] 7 feet, a [virtual] 40-inch 480p (720x480) display would look great - I owned a 40-inch NTSC widescreen TV several years back and people loved the way it looked with
        • A 40" 720x480 image at 7 feet will look about the same as about an 11.5 inch (9.6x6.4) image on a 75dpi monitor at 2 feet. It isn't really that impressive, it's about the same as those portable DVD players. In addition, they didn't even say it is that high a resolution, it may be a 360x240 resolution image!

          You're right that they aren't aiming this at people who want a virtual computer monitor, and that's why I'm not interested in it. You also missed that what I'd like most about a heads-up display is th

  • Hmmm.. 20 inch tube monitor or glasses that fit in a drawer when i'm done... hmmmmmm

    More desktop space or a 20 inch tube monitor that takes up so much space I glued a shelf ontop of it.

    The ability to wear glasses... lean back with my wireless keyboard and trackball, and get something done.

    I gotta say... while I like my old sony 20se, it won't last forever... and LCD is pretty attractive, glasses are even more so.
  • by ZSpade (812879) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:36AM (#15277075) Homepage
    I think they tried too hard to make these look like regular sun glasses. I think they should add borders to the lenses, or something to proclaim that "No this guy isn't just wearing the most retarded sunglasses you've ever seen, but actually a nifty piece of technology."

    They got the something light right, but until they can actually make these look like fashion wear, they shouldn't even try. It's like trying to make the ipod look like an earing. It would be big clunky, and ugly, but just trying to make the ipod look like an ipod has created a fashion trend in and of itself.

    So far the only piece of wearable technology that can actually add cool points is something that's centuries old - The Wrist Watch [wikipedia.org]
    • Bingo. Its OK for this to look like a portable video screen and NOT have a typical sunglasses shape. Unless that shape provides a "background" to increase the contrast of the screen, then it really is just adding weight and getting in the way.

      However, and maybe someone can find the link for me....I remember the MIT Wearable guys had developed a laser that was tiny, clipped onto some existing glasses and projected a laser directly onto the retina that showed the screen. The laser was low powered enough wh

    • by woolio (927141)
      I think they should add borders to the lenses, or something to proclaim that "No this guy isn't just wearing the most retarded sunglasses you've ever seen, but actually a nifty piece of technology.",

      Perhaps they could sell them only in "white".

  • by setirw (854029) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:40AM (#15277093) Homepage
    If the size of perceivable objects diminishing with distance is an inverse square relationship (as it is with light intensity...)

    Forty inches at seven feet is equivalent to approximately one inch (.81 inches, to be precise) at one foot, which isn't that big. It'll fill most of field of vision, though (hold a ruler one inch from your eye and compare).
    • Not inverse square. (Score:4, Informative)

      by nonlnear (893672) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:57AM (#15277169)
      Just an inverse relationship. So many ways to explain it... so little time.
    • You may want to double-check your numbers. The area may diminish as the sqare of the distance, but we aren't talking about a forty square inch screen. We are talking about a linear measurement, which is a proportionate difference. Twice the distance appears to be half the size. So forty inches at seven feet is the same as 5.7 inches at one foot, or just under one inch (.952 inches) at two inches distant.
  • Converting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by houghi (78078) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:42AM (#15277101)
    you'll feel that you're viewing a 40-inch screen from a distance of 7 feet.

    40 inches is about 1 meter. 7 feet is just above 2 meters.
    It does not talk about resolution. I have 2 x 1600x1200 20", so 40" would be 4 times as large. However when I stand 7 feet away, it looks about 4 times smaller, making it standard.

    So I guess they are saying it looks like a normal screen. They could have also said that it looked like a movie screen screen where you sit in the back of the teater.

    Oh and 40 grams is about 1.4 ounce.
  • Kids would go crazy over this! Put on their "glasses" and cheat straight through the test.
  • Only at home... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:55AM (#15277163)
    Only at home behind closed and locked doors. And drawn curtains.

    And even then, what would be the point? For the same money, I can buy a decent TV that 1) won't hurt my eyes, 2) friends can also enjoy, 3) doesn't requirement me to hide from the world because of how moronic I look.
  • Yes please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pesc (147035) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @11:01AM (#15277190)
    If this means...
    • The size of my laptop can be reduced to the size of the keyboard
    • The weight of my laptop can be reduced significantly
    • The battery time can be extended since the wearable display uses less power than the LCD backlight
    • The cost of the whole laptop can be cheaper since massproducing a micro-LCD device should be significantly cheaper than producing an 12 - 17 inch LCD.
    • I can get a laptop with a 30+ inch display in a format more compact than a 12 inch laptop.
    ... I can hardly wait! Bring it on!

    And to those of you who wouldn't dare using it in public because of the fear being mugged: I hope the mass production of these devices would make them as common as the earplugs everyone is using with their MP3-players nowadays.
    • Move the laptop to your jacket pocket (what, you don't have a Scott eVest [scottevest.com]?), use a wrist keyboard (chording or not) or a HandiKey Twiddler and you're headed in the right direction.
  • No thanks. (Score:5, Funny)

    by edunbar93 (141167) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @11:29AM (#15277310)
    I learned from personal experience a long, long time ago that big, weird-looking glasses make you look like a total dork.
    • I learned from personal experience a long, long time ago that big, weird-looking glasses make you look like a total dork.

      But I am a dork.

      What's more my wife is a dork. My children are dorks. All my friends and most of my coworkers are dorks.

      It used to bother me that some peoplei didn't like me becuase I was a dork. Then I figured out I didn't like them becuase they weren't dorks, so it's fair enough.

      Sometimes it's not apparent whether somebody is a dork or not by looking at them. You have to interact wi
    • big, weird-looking glasses make you look like a total dork.

      The MP3 glasses seem to have failed.

  • GPS, audio & video and they were not opaque that would enable 'virtuality'.

    I'd love to have an interpreter and a tour guide to enable me to look at something and be able to also be able to solicit information about what I'm seeing.

    That would make a tour into something unique.
  • by luna69 (529007) *
    Not only would I wear these, I'd implant them after removing my tear ducts.

    Hey, what a great idea to include in a story! Oh, wait...
  • I am still waiting for my EyeTap.
  • hm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by piratePenguin (885033)
    Combine that with Apple's "display watches YOU" idea, add some software to figure out what part of the screen the person is looking at, add a button to click, connect it up to a (small, wearable) computer, and that would be a very cool computer.
  • But I have one major problem with it. I wear glasses. Because of specific problems I can't do contacts (I often work in an environment that has trace elements that contacts may (do) concentrate to unhealthy levels) So I stick with glasses. Now if something like this could be attached to my glasses..... that would be treat.
  • Laptop display (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I've always thought something like this would solve a lot of problems associated with laptop battery life.

    Any laptop screen that is backlit is necessarily hugely inefficient. Only a tiny amount of the light that it produces will pass through your pupil into your eyes. A far higher proportion of the light these glasses produce would be likely to reach your eyes, so they could be made very bright yet draw only a few milliwatts of power.

    Microprocessors and peripherals could in theory be made to be many times m

  • It seems to me that there are two possible "next generation" computer interfaces that can replace the current ubiquitous keyborad+mouse+LCD panel.

    One is direct interface to the brain. This is the ideal, but a looong way away.

    So the other seems a likely intermediate step. Replace the screen with glasses that overlay a CG interface on what you see. Replace the keyboard (partially) with voice recognition. I say partially as I think a folded up keyboard will also be part of this system. Replace the mouse with d
  • Microvision [microvision.com] is the only company with technology to make something like this work. Placing small screens inside the glasses puts huge limitations on the resolution of the image. Painting the image directly onto the retina with a tiny low-powered laser solves that, producing a "virtual" image of arbitrarily large resolution without having a screen at all.
    • I've been waiting 10 years for the Virtual Retinal Display (VRD) and the only thing you can buy from Microvision is a cheesy looking Robocop-esque visor in 800x600 monochrome red.

      It has great potential though, e.g. the ability to change the focus of each pixel.

      You might also be interested in www.lightblueoptics.co.uk.

      They use laser projection, but in a different way. They are not talking about video goggles yet, but the technology is obviously applicable.
  • I used to work for a company that had, as one of it's products, several similar type heads-up type displays (around 1995 or so). The problem we ran into with all our models, prolonged use (a couple of 8 hour shifts, a few days in a row) would start to cause eye strain. We eventually had to pull all the products from the market, because the risk/reward ratio for using them was just not worth it. I'd be curious to see if the next generation of such devices still have similar issues.
  • I've been waiting for Virtual Reality Goggles ever since I saw the "Virtual Retinal Display" (VRD) on Tomorrows World in 1997. It's been nearly 10 years and they still haven't hit the high-street. One of the exciting things about the VRD was that they could potentially have a different focus for each pixel so it would be much more natural for your eyes.

    However, things seem to be moving a bit more quickly now and I've seen a number of possibilities, of which this is just the latest.

    Also relevant is the
  • I've been waiting for affordable display glasses since I saw the concept in Flash Gordon [imdb.com]. Fwiw, the company mentioned is hardly the first to develop this kind of device -- MicroOptical Corp and Icuiti to name two, and Icuiti's is shipping (i.e. non-vaporware) -- as Slashdot well knows, having posted numerous entries on the subject before. So the implication of the article that this is some kind of new development is odd and inaccurate.

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