Innovative wearable displays

Two companies announced upcoming imaging eyewear innovations:

Intelligent interactive 3D goggles

Sensics claims the first “intelligent, interactive, untethered 3D goggles” for video game play.

“Imagine being able to use hand movements and gestures to wield a light saber in a game,” the company says, “to select a movie from a media library, or to interact with augmented reality content.”

The “Natalia” system provides a fully immersive, stand-alone, 3D environment, Sensics says. It combines the resolution and field of view found in professional head-mounted displays, the unique ability to run powerful applications on board, and real-time, 360-degree tracking of the hands from the user’s perspective.

In addition to its two high-brightness OLED displays supporting both 1280 by 1024 /720p resolution, the glasses have a 1.2 GHz, dual-core processor, 3D graphics accelerator, 1GB of memory and run Android 4.

Natalia will be offered to consumer electronics and phone manufacturers as a reference design, the company says, and a development platform to game developers. Products should be available to consumers in late 2012.

More information is here.

See through Vuzix’ HD glasses

With integrated head tracking and options for multiple camera technologies, “Video eyewear” supplier Vuzix says its SMART glasses can “broaden the users’ sensory perception across a greatly expanded light spectrum.”

The company says for decades, “wearable displays have been referred to as Head Mounted Displays because of their bulky size and odd appearance,” says Vuzix. “This older technology is limited by the laws of optical physics that result in form factors that are large, heavy, and practically impossible to make into fashion eyewear.”

Now the company says it can provide HD video overlaid atop one’s surroundings with its SMART technology that fits into a conventional pair of eyeglasses. Its compact display engine is capable of high contrast and brightness for outdoor use in full daylight.

The 1.4mm-thick polymer waveguide lens “squeezes the light down the waveguide and then two dimensionally expands the image back into the user’s eye, creating an image that is mixed into the real world.”

The technology results in an interactive display that can merge virtual information with the real world, Vuzix ads.

Vuzix says it holds more than 51 patents in the field.


Sony + Toshiba + Hitachi = Japan Display Inc.

Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi officially joined a government-backed joint venture Japan Display Inc.

The three manufacturers signed definitive agreements to transfer all shares of certain subsidiaries and integrate their small- and medium-sized display businesses into a new company to be established and operated by Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. INCJ is a public-private partnership that provides financial, technological and management support for next-generation businesses.

Japan Display is scheduled to begin operations in Spring of 2012.


Vuzix enhance 3D specs with VR

The latest eyewear from Vuzix emulate a 75-inch widescreen display, as seen from 10 feet, with an enhanced head tracker system that better provides an immersive virtual reality experience.

The Wrap 1200VR glasses have a six-degrees-of-freedom tracker with automatic drift compensation that offers the best “Where you look is what you see,” experience, the company says.

The glasses have two 852 by 480 LCD displays, providing a 35-degree diagonal field of view, and “allowing you to see more of your virtual worlds than ever before,” Vuzix says.

The Wrap 1200VR connects to a Windows PC’s video card, and weigh approximately three ounces.

The similar Wrap 1200 3D glasses provide 3D viewing, without the VR, from multiple standard video sources, for $500.

More information is here.


Perceptive Pixel unveils 82-inch multi-touch LCD

At 82 inches, Perceptive Pixel’s new huge touchscreen is “the largest optically bonded flat-panel pro-cap display in the world,” the company says, and “a technological breakthrough that sets a new standard for the display industry.”

The projected capacitive LCD has a 1080p HD resolution at 120Hz, and a multi-touch response time of less than 1 millisecond. Perceptive Pixel already makes an 88-inch DLP model, but due to the interior projectors, it is much thicker then the new design, which is only six inches deep.

“Multi-touch has become fundamental to the way we interact with technology; “Perceptive Pixel is changing the way professionals collaborate, communicate and share information,” the company says, “enabling more intuitive interaction with technology… Touch interactivity has opened up new possibilities for how they interact with and showcase their work.”

New York-based Perceptive Pixel was founded in 2006.


“WhiteMagic” brightens Sony LCD

By adding a white subpixel, Sony says it has improved the power consumption and outdoor visibility of a 3-inch VGA LCD module aimed at cameras and phones.

Standard LCDs have red, green, and blue subpixels. The addition of a white pixel can cause image quality deterioration. However, Sony says its analysis of the input picture data and new signal processing algorithm overcome these issues.

The module has two modes, one that reduces backlight power consumption by around 50 percent, and a second that approximately doubles the brightness to improve outdoor visibility. The display also has a 160-degree viewing angle.

The WhiteMagic panel will sample in October 2011, priced at about $65.

More information is here.


Sunglasses stream augmented reality

The emerging market of AR needs custom applications and adaptation, says portable display maker Vuzix. The company’s new glasses combine cameras, displays, and motion sensors to overlay graphics and information over your real-time real-world view.

The Star 1200 (See-Thru Augmented Reality) system augments reality with 2D or stereoscopic 3D computer graphics or data, overlaid like a hologram floating in space, or locked in place atop a real-world object with an AR marker.

Two 852 by 480 LCD displays create a virtual screen emulating a 75-inch display as viewed from ten feet, with independent left and right eye focal adjustment. A high-speed 1080p camera enables marker and object recognition. A miniature six-degree-of-freedom head tracker with compass plugs directly into the display module. The whole package weighs approximately three ounces.

The system can be pre-ordered now for $4,999.

What’s missing? A portable Windows laptop, which is required for the video and AR processing.

More information is here.


Quantum color display developed

Samsung Electronics researchers have prototyped the first full-color display using quantum dots, which promise brighter, cheaper screens that use only a fifth the energy required by LCDs.

As reported in Nature Photonics, the four-inch diagonal display interlaces the semiconductor nanocrystals, which glow when exposed to current or light.

More information is here.

Virtual 16-inch display projects into eye

The AirScouter wearable display from Brother is a prototype Retinal Imaging Display that mounts on a pair of glasses and projects fast-moving light that ‘paints’ an image directly onto the retina, making the viewer see a virtual 16-inch display with 800 by 600 resolution.

[The design does seem to beg the question of why not project a floating image on the glasses, rather than use glasses to project directly onto the eye?]

For the display, printer-maker Brother used optical system technologies developed for its laser and inkjet printers.

It will first be aimed at industrial uses in Japan, and later brought to consumer augmented reality.

The translated press release is here.

Pandigital frames start reading

Photo frame maker Pandigital enters the eReader market with Novel, a 7-inch display integrated with Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore.

The $200 device has a color touchscreen, and WiFi connectivity. The full-color 800 x 600 resolution and edge-to-edge glass screen also lets customers thoroughly enjoy their digital photos in a virtual album as well as watch video on the go, the company says. It weighs 16 ounces, and has one gigabyte of storage.

Extra-efficient OLED

Universal Display claims a new pixel architecture improves energy efficiency and extends the lifetime of OLED displays.

The all-phosphorescent AMOLED display architecture uses a four-color sub-pixel design, adding a light blue sub-pixel to the conventional red-green-blue (RGB) configuration.

The introduction of a light blue sub-pixel can “significantly extend the operational lifetime of an OLED display,” the company says, “and reduce the display’s power consumption by as much as 33 percent, as compared to an RGB OLED display using a fluorescent blue sub-pixel.”

Universal Display is based in Ewing, New Jersey, and was founded in 1994. The company claims exclusive, co-exclusive or sole license rights with respect to more than 1,000 issued and pending patents worldwide.

Sony improves sensors, OLED display

Sony Semiconductor detailed a new CCD sensor that uses dual-layer microlenses. An added second microlens layer focuses light into a smaller photodiode area. The 14 megapixel ICX681SQW image sensor has a 1.43µm diagonal pixel size.

Sony has prototyped a flexible organic thin-film transistor, using a new semiconducting material that has eight times the current modulation rate of existing OTFTs. The 432 by 240 pixel screen is built on a thin 20 micron substrate, meaning it can be tightly rolled up.Dual lens refine the image for the sensor's tiny pixels.