Wearables

Lightguide optics could soon make smartglasses less socially awkward

Lightguide optics could soon m...
A new display technology can embed smartglass displays directly inside the lenses, resulting in much more streamlined look that won't attract nearly as many stares as current-generation smart glasses
A new display technology can embed smartglass displays directly inside the lenses, resulting in much more streamlined look that won't attract nearly as many stares as current-generation smart glasses
View 3 Images
A new display technology can embed smartglass displays directly inside the lenses, resulting in much more streamlined look that won't attract nearly as many stares as current-generation smart glasses
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A new display technology can embed smartglass displays directly inside the lenses, resulting in much more streamlined look that won't attract nearly as many stares as current-generation smart glasses
The display is thin and highly transparent
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The display is thin and highly transparent
The display is reportedly less than a year away from mass production
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The display is reportedly less than a year away from mass production
View gallery - 3 images

Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a display technology that may soon spell the end of awkward-looking smartglasses. The resulting displays are thin, lightweight, and much more discrete than those of current-generation hi-tech spectacles.

A combination of faster processors and wise power management could one day make smartglasses our gadget of choice to manage home appliances, snap hands-free pictures and perhaps replace our smartphones and tablets for daily use. For that to happen, however, smartglasses will first need to shed their "geeky gadget" looks for something much closer to a regular pair of glasses.

A technique known as lightguide optics could now bring that future closer to reality by allowing the creation of next-generation smartglass displays. According to the scientists involved, the new displays are highly transparent, lightweight, only 1 mm (0.04 in) thick and, most importantly, can be manufactured in any shape to integrate with existing lenses.

Embedding the display directly within the lenses could be a huge leap for smartglasses. Arguably, the most eye-catching (or, if you prefer, stare-attracting) feature of Google Glass is its very prominent retinal display: virtually removing it from sight could go a long way toward making this and other wearables more streamlined and socially comfortable to wear.

The display is thin and highly transparent
The display is thin and highly transparent

In a proof-of-concept, VTT spin-off company Dispelix Oy created a display that formed images within the user's field of view that were reportedly as large as a 60-inch TV seen from a distance of three meters (10 ft) away. For reference, this is approximately double the stated field of view for the Google Glass display.

Displays manufactured with this new technique can be designed to show simple monochrome information or multi-colored images, can be made out of either glass or plastic depending on their intended use, and can already integrate with current smartglasses.

Dispelix says it is now working with industry partners on reaching mass production, with the goal of starting customer deliveries sometime next year.

Source: VTT Research

View gallery - 3 images
5 comments
Bob Flint
Even at 1mm thickness the prescription curvature ground into current lenses would have to be taken into account, as well as the ability to switch on and of at will while using as prescription glasses. If they can achieve that then there is a potential market, otherwise if you need to wear these with normal vision then what have you gained?
Mr. Hensley Garlington
Finally!
Andrej Radoš
Is there any knowledge of optics gracing the author or the developers? How do the eye simultaneously focus on a display some half inch away and the surroundings? Challenging the realism of ideas with at least common sense is sadly to commonly missed in GizMag-things.
Stephen N Russell
Now produce for off the shelf reading glasses & sunglasses for driving. Nice. Id buy em, mass produce. Lisc to produce
p.a.r.
You might find this consumer study also interesting. If you need more information on this, feel free to contact me!
http://morpace.com/images/pdf/News/Morpace-Reports-On-Smart-Glasses.pdf www.philipprauschnabel.com/2015/11/download-free-us-smart-glasses-study