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Wearable LCD Display 186

fenimor writes "PhysOrg reports, that Mitsubishi is going to introduce next year a headset with a small liquid-crystal display screen which is positioned in front, slightly below eye level so as not to obstruct normal vision. Designed for users who need to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, this tiny wearable heads-up display is expected to cost only US $400."
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Wearable LCD Display

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  • Spectacles (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Big Mark ( 575945 )
    I already wear glasses, will this work with me?
    • Are you near or farsighted?
      • by Big Mark ( 575945 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:32PM (#10547208)
        Depends on how ugly she is and how drunk I am... Normally farsighted though. What difference does it make?
        • Re:Spectacles (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          It should not be a problem.
          In the picture, the display is around four inches from the face. There is enough room to wear glasses as well.

          Optics in camera viewfinders etc are still useable with glasses, so this should be too.
          • Re:Spectacles (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Big Mark ( 575945 )
            The optics in... well anything assume that the glasses I wear cover the viewfinder/eyepiece/whatever - which is a reasonable assumption, as if I am looking through a camcorder or telescope eyepiece then I will be looking directly at it, so the glasses will lie between the eyepiece and my pupil.

            Of course "tall" aviator-style glasses cover the entire field of view with corrective lenses and so they'll work, but as lots of (most?) people wear "short" fashion specs the part of the field of view that is occupi
            • I would think that it would be adjustible. If it is too low, you could probably raise it higher, though then it would be more likely to obstruct your vision. I would thus suspect these would work best for people with perfect vision or who wear contact lenses.

              I can tell you right now there is no way I would be able to use this thing. I'm farsighted and in order for me to comfortably read something it has to be at least a foot away from my eyes, even when wearing glasses. Now that I think about it, don'

    • Re:Spectacles (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, I am more concerned with eye health.

      We were always told not to read or watch TV too closely. How healthy is it to put a light source inches from your eyes for significant amount of time?
  • Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Power Everywhere ( 778645 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:20PM (#10547151) Homepage
    I never thought we'd get to the point where people had to attach televisions to themselves. I can already hear the bickering over usage rights while driving. I'm beginning to think that John Titor wasn't so wrong.
    • Re:Wow. (Score:1, Informative)

      by Pingular ( 670773 )
      I'm beginning to think that John Titor wasn't so wrong.
      For those that don't know: John Titor [].
    • by mikael ( 484 )
      It would be good for road driving if you could have a map of where you were going displayed below your view of the windscreen.
      Especially if it could tell you which lane you should be in, and which direction you should go, in order to make the correct intersection change on the freeway. Or maybe it could be used for driving in foggy/rainy conditions.

      How many accidents have been caused by someone trying to read a map, while trying to drive at the same time?

      • Why would you need a headset for that? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the map on screen slightly below (or even transparent on a corner of) the windshield?
        • by mikael ( 484 )
          It would make more sense, but a projection system for a windscreen is far more expensive than a headset mounted LCD display. For a windscreen, you need a bright light source, reflective mirror and a large projector, all in order to generate a image large enough to cover the visual field, which can just as easily be generated by a small LCD display close to the eye.
    • How can anyone efficiently multitask two different tasks: 1 task via normal vision and 1 task via the LCD panel?

      Let t1 = time to do task #1. Let t2 = time to do task #2. Let cxt = context switch time.

      Doing the 2 tasks sequentially requires t1 + t2 units of time.

      Doing the 2 tasks concurrently requires t1 + t2 + cxt.

      "cxt" is the cost paid by the workers in being unable to concentrate because of constant switching between tasks.

      • Re:Wow, How Dumb (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DennyK ( 308810 )
        What it can be used for is to access material related to whatever physical task you are currently performing. If you're working on your car, you could access electronic reference materials. If you're walking around a strange town or city, you could pull up a map of the area, a list of restaurants, or a language reference if you're in another country. I don't think people would really be trying to use it to, say, write code while they're driving (hopefully!).
    • "I can already hear the bickering over usage rights while driving."

      I wouldn't mind having a HUD for my car.
    • I already have a professor [] who has been doing that for a while now.
  • by Crusty Oldman ( 249835 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:22PM (#10547164)
    How do I use it with glasses? I'm an old man, and can't see anything closer than three feet away WITH glasses. How the heck am I going to read that tiny screen?

  • Death by EMI (Score:1, Interesting)

    Have they effectively eliminated EMI or are they just going to let people die of eye cancer?
    • Re:Death by EMI (Score:2, Insightful)

      by p4ul13 ( 560810 )
      I thought LCDs don't produce EMI because they don't use an electron gun like a CRT does.

      Yes / No ? I really am not sure here...

      • Re:Death by EMI (Score:3, Interesting)

        by workman161 ( 814490 )
        No, LCD doesn't emit EMI radiation. But this makes me think of another question... Are there any long term effects from using it? Like eye strain, or headaches, or nausea?
    • EMI? No, it'll make you mutate and give you super-powers, but only if you're pure of heart.

      Or if you have a name like "Doktor Devious."

      Seriously, though, is this one of those religious things? I've heard this before, but didn't really believe that people would follow it then. Mysterious rays that you can't see cause cancer because everything does?
      EMI from a device like this is in the form of visible light, radio, and microwaves. Same for cell-phones, microwaves, TVs, etc. The worst you can get is bur
    • "Have they effectively eliminated EMI"

      They kind of had to in order to avoid lawsuits over neck injuries.
  • YES!!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:25PM (#10547175) Homepage Journal
    I plan to be the first person to cause a fender-bender from a chatroom.
  • so? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yonkeltron ( 720465 )
    this is pretty neat. now i will be able to watch babylon 5 reruns and code at the same time. but then again, what kind of a device will this display hook up to?
  • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:26PM (#10547181)
    If they perfect these things, I'd use one as my normal monitor. I have no particular love of having a big ass thing on my desk (even an LCD). If it covers the same apparent field of view, I'd go for it.

    Combined with a folding keyboard, this could help portable computers get a lot smaller too.

    Odds are it draws a lot less power than a full size LCD panel; should help portable PC power consumption as well; I think the LCD is one of the major power hogs.
    • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (jllerraf)> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @08:18PM (#10547445) Homepage
      Even better than a LCD HUD is a Retinal Scanning Display (RSD) [], but the tech isn't as mature yet. RSD's have a long list of advantages over LCDs and CRTs [].


      • I don't care what they say about laser power levels and eye safety: I don't want coherent light beamed into my eyes. A failure in the laser diode's current limiting and the next frame will paint permanent darkness. Forget it.
      • Finally, I can be the one with frickin' lasers attached to my head!
        • You can do it yourself. Just out and buy a cheap laser pointer at Walgreen's and a roll of duct tape. Voila! instant Borg (just add collective.)
      • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:39AM (#10548692) Journal
        Another advantage of an RSD is that it is a spinoff of a device to scan the retina, and adding one more beam-splitter and a photodiode on the laser side of the scanner lets the display do this, too.

        That leads to two extra functions:

        1) The retina print can be used for a "password". (Fewer worries about somebody who steals your wearable getting at your data or using your comm account to make 20-hour calls to 900 services in Malagua or spam the whole internet.)

        2) The display can measure where you're looking - and use that (with suitable algorithms to keep the cursor from being obtrusive) as your pointing device. (Look-and-click means one less device in your hand, i.e. a chord keyboard with mouse button chords in its vocabulary. And it ought to be a bunch faster than mousing.)
    • And if you had one of these instead of a monitor at work, you could browse pr0n without having to alt-tab quickly when someone comes up to your desk!
    • No hard information is available, not even expected resolution. There have been headsets available for a long time, I don't remember them ever hitting VGA in better than monochrome. It hasn't caught on yet, and Mitsubishi is not saying why this one will beat the odds.

      The power savings doesn't seem to be that significant except for maybe battery life.

      A 17" panel takes around 30-40W, which is in line with the fact that backlights are basically special flourescent bulbs with some sort of light distribution
  • by TimmyDee ( 713324 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:28PM (#10547187) Homepage Journal
    Does the back of the miniature display flash "NERD" for everyone else to see? You know, in case it wasn't obvious.
    • It's big enough to display

      | porno |

      Oh, you wanted non-obvious. My mistake.


    • Nah ... (Score:3, Funny)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 )
      Does the back of the miniature display flash "NERD" for everyone else to see?

      Doesn't need to. The utility belt with the palm, pager, digital camera, and a bandolier of batteries and flash cards is usually a dead giveaway. ;-P

  • vga input? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weighn ( 578357 ) <weighn&gmail,com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:29PM (#10547189) Homepage
    the article suggests it only takes a tv signal. I'd like one of these for my flight simming. My desk just can't bear one more monitor.
    • Re:vga input? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Skadet ( 528657 )
      the article sugguests no such thing.

      SCOPO can be attached to any device that can feed video like cell phone, laptop, PDA, DVD-player, etc.

      It implies that it may take an RCA (composite) output. No big deal, right? Shoot, my Viper v550 have composite-out.
  • Hmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by CompSurfer ( 759218 )
    Looks like a Jem'hedar viewscreen kinda.
  • Tiger (maker of cheapo LCD games) put out the R-zone game machine in the '90s. One form of the R-Zone was a headset with a controller attached. A clear piece of plastic flipped out over the player's left eye.
  • Res, res, res (Score:4, Insightful)

    by condour75 ( 452029 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:32PM (#10547207) Homepage
    The video is cute and futuristic but what's the resolution? If it's under 800x600 it's kind of useless. 1024x768 and I'd consider it, although I can't see it improving my sex life.
    • Why? This isn't supposed to replace your desktop monitor, its supposed to give you a hud to display specially crafted apps. You could get away with 300x200 on it really, all you'll be doing is outputting info, most likely using text and small icons.

      Once it gets a few years of tech down the line, a nice 1600x1200 display to directly overlay images on top of real life could be useful too (eg, showing an infobox on top of people, specificly re-coloring/highlighting objects, etc), but to say its not even usefu
  • DPI? Power? (Score:3, Funny)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:38PM (#10547235) Homepage Journal
    TFA and TFV didn't say much about the specs.

    I wonder what the display output will be?

    It's obviously powered by thought-wave absorbtion, so that's the good news. No batteries!

  • by for_usenet ( 550217 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:40PM (#10547243)
    This should be a really neat way to get rid of power hungry displays. This device will draw some power, but hopefully, by virtue of its size, nowhere near the amount of a conventional laptop or PDA display. It should definitely open up some interesting possibilities. Imagine being able to shut off your laptop display, with this plugged into the VGA port, and drawing it's necessary power from a powered USB or Firewire port. Mmmmm ... Tasty ...
    • Certainly the backlighting current would be slashed, because the area of display is so much smaller; so for the same intensity you need a tiny, tiny fraction. The drive circuitry (including 3D rendering card :-) ), would be pretty similar power though.

      Still, you might be able to double battery life for the same battery size.

      Then there are are low power processors like Transmeta's.

      The other heavy current device is the hard-drive. It's getting to the point where replacing that with camera-style flash m

      • There are many interesting options for input devices in a wearable computer. For the short term, i'm going to buy a throat mic (around Christmas, said the poor broke college student :), but the frogpad ( []) has received good reviews, and the last time i checked, thinkgeek still had some halfkeyboards... On a "slightly" longer term, gesture recognition should work ok with a webcam :)
  • by Gentlewhisper ( 759800 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:42PM (#10547252)
    Bill Gates already got this. Remember the picture of him we see on slashdot?
  • Projection (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Big Mark ( 575945 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:42PM (#10547256)
    I'm wondering - is there any chance of projection into the retina in a device like this?

    You get LCD alarm clocks that project images of the time onto the wall already, surely it's only a matter of time before VDU images are projected into the retina...
  • The voice over on those videos sounds strange. It's probably better that having a Japanese sound track, but it's freaking me out...
  • Finally, there's a production model of something like this. Maybe those memory prosthesis prototypes being worked on at MIT, among other places, will come to market before too long?

    And that's in addition to all the more generally in-demand applications.
  • *sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seabass55 ( 472183 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @07:48PM (#10547284) Homepage
    "users who need to perform multiple tasks simultaneously"

    Or maybe people should simply unplug once in a while and enjoy some of the real world. All I can imagine is some idiot using this while he's driving and causing an accident...this is far worse than cell phones. Yeah sure there's a power advantage like someone mentioned above for laptops...we'd be better off spending money on designing new longer lasting batteries than this thing.
    • Wearable computer are not new, and have multiple proven uses in the workplace already.

      One example is when building/QCing an aircraft (mil or civ) you can either lug a cart with several 5,000 page notebooks for current specifications in addition to the cart with all your tools/instruments, or wear an 802.11 system with small display where you can search out the specs for the exact section you are working on at the moment.

    • Indeed. Recentrecent news [] and other real studies [] say multitasking isn't all it's cracked up to be.

      You can also find pop talks [] and even movies [] that suggest the same.

      Sometimes I like to just try to slow down and do one thing, have a beer and read slashdot... d'oh! (that's two things!)

    • Simple use for such a device. Order pickers. Now they need to have a viewscreen in their hand wich makes it hard to get info and handle gooods at the same time. Use this, a laser scanner on the finger and voila, you can have your order details and goods at the same time.

      Compared to other portable solutions this isn't even that expensive and since it is on the head and not constantly being put down and picked up it will suffer less abuse as well.

  • As long as it leaves me with a pleasurable sensation that I don't have to go Risa, I'm all for it.

    How about you, Wesley?
  • It's just like my favorite song, Head Games from 80's super-group Foreigner.
  • ... kill me now, please!
  • driving (Score:2, Funny)

    by nktae ( 753573 )
    Is anyone else having images of the same idiot that eats a borrito while talking on his cellphone while looking at a map while driving using this behind the wheel?
  • Sadly, there will only be two of these. . . One for the Vorta and one for the Jem Hadar First. And they frame will flash all quick-like when you use them.
  • Tell me when they've made contact lenses with built-in "wifi" and powertransmission, and they go completely transparent by thought control (semitransparent otherwise). The resolution needs to be at least 1280x1000 as well. "The world is your desktop background" :)

    Preferrably they would take input by thought control but even if not I'd spend at least 3K$ per lens even if I had to take up a loan...
  • by Chocolate Teapot ( 639869 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @08:02PM (#10547355) Journal
    Here [] is the original version.
  • both eyes ? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I didn't read the article but I'm thinking how cool it would be to have a system like that would force it's image into the retina. Imagine having your desktop consume your entire field of view ?! Instead of a display sitting 3 or 4 feet away, all you would experience and see is your computers desktop/commandline/etc about being immersed !! Is that possible ? Or would we need neural link-ups for that ?

    Would the average programmer end up working more efficiently if that were the situation ??

  • A helmut. I can't imagine how many people will be wearing this thing walking around bumping into things. You think people are ignorant of the world around them while on a cell phone? Wait until someone's walking around watching a rip of The Simpsons on dvd, or the most recent Daily Show. I fear trying to drive around the person wearing one of these. Unless it comes with a big bullseye bumper sticker...
  • by izomiac ( 815208 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @08:50PM (#10547641) Homepage
    Has anyone else noticed the impossibly fast evolution of multitasking ability?

    People over 70 have trouble doing one thing at one time

    People over 55 seem to have trouble walking and cheqing gum simultaniously

    People over 30 think that they can drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time

    College and high school students can take note on a laptop while carrying on 6 simultanious AIM conversations while paying enough attention to the teacher to know if they are growing supicious

    What's next... babies with tenticles []?
    • 60 years ago 20yr old boys were dropping out of aircraft or running up beaches handling lethal tools while reading maps, scanning for thousands of visual clues, remembering several orders and tasks, keeping track of the rest of their team, calculating the trajectory of ballistic objects in flight ALL AT THE SAME TIME AND WITHOUT SLEEP.

      Todays 20yr old boys can barely control a desktop without it getting invested and complain bitterly when they got to press forward for to long in their shooter or bullets don

  • Hold your finger about 3-4 inches away from your nose. Now focus on it for a couple of minutes.

    'nuf said.
  • Cost only $400 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @09:18PM (#10547770)
    That may still seem expensive to slashdotters who know the ins and outs of finding cheap hardware on the Internet, but this is the automotive industry. When purchasing a new car, an extra $500 may get you a decent audio system that would cost $300 at Best Buy. So considering their normal markup, this isn't a bad price for an unnecessary upgrade.
    • Re:Cost only $400 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cr0sh ( 43134 )
      Actually, knowing the VR and AR industry, this is actually a very cheap wearable-style "HMD" - $400 is a steal (heh, I remember paying $250.00 for a open-box StuntMaster from Best Buy in 1993 or so).
  • I'm surprised no one has mentioned this sounds like the beginning of a "gargoyle" [] from SnowCrash.

    "Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider, these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule s

  • by NeuroManson ( 214835 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @09:36PM (#10547842) Homepage
    Okay, I'm done. Now my big question is simple:

    Anyone can buy a Gameboy Advance with a backlit LCD for about $79.

    Anyone can buy a digital camera with built in 1.5" LCD for $120.

    Anyone can buy a 15" LCD display for their PC for $300 on average.

    So WHY is it that a monacle LCD using (technically) less technology costs 3-4 times that price? It's bloody stupid.
    • One word... resolution. Think of the resolution needed to be able to display anything worthwile in something so small.
      • The problem *is* the resolution. Most people wouldn't feel comfortable with a display showing less than a 640x480 resolution, and yet the one they show suggests a display resolution of 320x240.

        As far as I know as well, anything higher than the previously mentioned resolutions is difficult if not impossible, or we'd be seeing LCD flat panel displays the size of a conventional TV with a much higher dot pitch.

        When you're talking that resolution, may as well go to a scanning low energy laser display like was
  • people what is up? Most posts are whines of some sort or another. DOes no one enjoy technology on slashdot? Do none of you have the ability to see the possibilities of anything?

    It's time to get your nerd on.
    • Sorry about the od looking post, but after I submited my post with 'It's time to get your nerd on' I decided to make it my sig.
  • Imagine someone with multi LCD displays, like this scooter [] has rearviews.
  • by Doyle ( 620849 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @10:02PM (#10547934)
    It's called the SCOPO. This infringes our intellectual property. The charge will be $699 per headset.

  • How is this new? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlightThePower ( 663950 ) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @10:18PM (#10548000)
    I can't really tell from the webpage, but it seems the same as the MicroOptical HUD [] I have sitting on my desk. Its been around for a few years now, its certainly not brand new. Can anyone explain the ins and outs?
  • Am I the only one reminded immediately of the glasses invented by Steve Martin's character in The Jerk [], which eventually made an entire population cross-eyed []?

  • I hope I meet the lady who did the talking for that video so I can pimp slap her! The way she talked just really ground on my ears for some reason.

    And what was up with showing the distance between the eye in metric (50cm) and the width of the screen in standard (10 inches). Pick a camp and stay in it.

    While on the topic, I wish America would get with the picture and switch to metric already... standard isn't so, well, standard.
  • Most of the people here think of this as a geek device, but I think it would be most useful in some of those deskjobs which require a lot of phone interaction. Combined with a headset, this puts the majority of the system in one place and removes the need to craning of a neck and maintaining awkward positions.

    If this can be combined with some new keyboard device, it really gets everything together.
  • Heads-up display, whatever - did you see that OMNI computer vehicle? Mobile computing that moves *you*. (insert soviet russia joke here) They're thinking about it pretty hard, but I want a computer that I can operate with a steeringwheel, not a car I operate with a klunky keyboard. Do they drive Dvorak in the UK?
  • Specs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Writer ( 746272 ) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:08AM (#10548606)
    What resolution can these things display? The linked article and video doesn't mention anything. MicroOptical [] already makes things like these. They have a number of different versions [] and can display at VGA (640x480) resolution. They have binocular [] versions, and there's even one [] in which the display is a reflective portion of a transparent eyeglass lens that looks like a bifocal. Why wait until next year for this one from Mitsubishi when MicroOptical already has a whole range of different kinds now?
  • This isn't a "heads-up display" (HUD).
    It's a "head-mounted display" (HMD).

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