Bosch to debut lightweight and subtle new smart glasses HUD tech
Bosch will hit CES 2020 with a new type of Light Drive smart glass technology that can give you a personal heads-up display while being virtually indistinguishable from a regular pair of glasses, and adding very little weight.
The entire system weighs less than 10 grams (0.35 oz), and uses a microelectromechanical scanner to bounce light off a holographic element built into the lens, directly onto the retina. The glasses are completely transparent when it's turned off, and it can work with prescription lenses. The image is sharp and clear, it's always in focus, it's bright enough to be useful in broad daylight, and the brightness is adaptive to ambient light levels.
What you end up with is a little HUD that can pop up messages, alerts, lists, navigation prompts and whatever else right in front of your eyes. You'd use it for the kind of things you'd usually need a smart watch for, but it promises to be that much more convenient due to the fact you never even have to hold up your arm. It'd also be ideal as a driving, cycling or motorcycle riding HUD.
Bosch is unlikely to go into the business of making these things. The company is much more of an OEM supplier, so will look to sell the Light Drive systems to eyewear manufacturers, who can then choose a level of specification and control options, and design their own interfaces for use with smart devices.
Bosch can integrate this display with a range of its own smart sensor chips, which can include things like barometric pressure sensors, compasses and accelerometer suites. The glasses will need this kind of gear in order to accept tap or gesture commands, and to deliver accurate navigation instructions. Future development could enable the glasses to sense your surroundings even more accurately, enabling a more augmented-reality-based approach.
This doesn't look like the kind of thing you'd deliberately go out and seek. It looks more like the kind of thing you might choose as an upgrade to your next set of prescription glasses, and that makes it a very interesting proposition. It'll begin rolling out in 2021.
The video below demonstrates some potential uses of the technology.