Ashkelon Visor: US$20 heads-up display straps a phone to your forehead

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The Ashkelon Visor is a budget HUD screen that leverages the power of your smartphone

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Augmented reality and heads-up displays are popping up all over the place lately with a seemingly endless trail of companies trying to find ways to put more information in front of us in ever more situations. Most of these technologies are complicated and expensive, but here's one that'll cost just 20 bucks.

Ashkelon Visor inventor Benny Goldstein has certainly lived a colorful life, from being a patent law specialist, to appearing on the Big Brother reality TV show, to founding a political party and making a run at the Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli parliament.

While playing around with Lego one day, Goldstein hit upon an idea. Since a smartphone can do pretty much everything you expect from a heads-up display apart from put it right in front of your eyes, why not get a user's smartphone to do the hard work, and just build a new way to look at it?

The Ashkelon Visor looks just like a tennis visor with an eyepiece. In reality, it's a little shelf that hangs your smartphone off your forehead. A fold-out, perspex focusing element sits in front of your eye and reflects a portion of the phone's screen directly into your view.

An Ashkelon app can then be called up that replaces your phone's screen with a simple, small quarter-size window that displays phone and message information, music controls, maps and other functions. The interface is simplified so that you can control it by just swiping across the phone's touchscreen in one of four directions to input a command. Goldstein says the app will also take camera and mic data and be able to recognize hand gestures and voice commands.

It looks a bit goofy, as you'll witness in the video below, and we're not sure how many people will love the idea of walking around with a phone strapped to their forehead, but it could be a simple and cheap way of putting information in front of your eyes – and one that makes full use of the supercomputer you're already carrying in your pocket.

The Ashkelon Visor is launching on Kickstarter on January 1st, 2015 and is set to retail at US$20.

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