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Where Are the High-Res Head-Mounted Displays?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-want-my-i-want-my-i-want-my dept.

Displays 384

vivian writes "Ever since 1996, when I first set eyes on a Sony GlassTron head-mounted display in Japan, I have been awaiting a lightweight, head-mounted display that actually has decent resolution and doesn't look like a brick tied to your face. The closest contender to date seems to be the WRAP 920AV from Vuzix, and they are partially transparent too, which is great, but as with every other unit I have found, they only offer video quality — 640x480. Given that there have been a number of other discussions on Slashdot, I can't be the only one here who is eagerly awaiting something that could actually be a viable alternative to a PC monitor — especially for gaming or 3d graphics work. Perhaps we could petition a manufacturer to make what we actually want? Something with a minimum of 1024x768 @30-60hz refresh, say, and capable of stereo vision. Extra karma if they incorporate head tracking."

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VR was more hype than reality (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015033)

Why spend thousands of dollars smooshing a high resolution display to your face when you can blow up a flatscreen to epic proportions and get all the resolution you need? Practically speaking, the HMD does nothing additional other than give you headache.

Even head tracking has taken a back seat. Interface design has moved away from the idea of strapping gagetry to your body and moved toward motion sensing devices that provide excellent spatial control and immersion without cramming you into a latex glove. (Bow chicka bow wow.)

Take the Wii Remote as an example. Accelerometers and IR sensors work together to provide precise positioning. A gyroscope powered attachment called the Motion+ is coming out to close the gap on orientation difficulties. That's the low-end and look at what has already been achieved [youtube.com] . The high end stuff allows researchers to build entire rooms where gyroscopes and camera tracking provide location information while the subject is surrounded by projected images or large flat panels.

The end goal is to blur the line between man and machine rather than having the machine trick man into believing he's in a different world. As it turns out, bluring the line between reality and unreality is hella lot easier than trying to replace the current reality.

In short, don't hold your breath. The VR of the 90's is dead. Long live augmented realtiy.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (4, Funny)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015073)

Why spend thousands of dollars smooshing a high resolution display to your face when you can blow up a flatscreen to epic proportions and get all the resolution you need?

Well, as someone who's been waiting for an affordable HMD that I can use for an augmented reality project I've been thinking of starting, let me just ask you one thing: How would I go about mounting a 50" LCD monitor or a projector + screen on my head in a way that doesn't make result in me constantly falling over?

/Mikael

Re:VR was more hype than reality (4, Funny)

bsane (148894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015115)

If falling over is the reality your trying to experience, I'd say your all set!

Re:VR was more hype than reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015135)

Even though I'm anonymous I'll ask the obvious - why do you need to mount it on your head?

Re:VR was more hype than reality (4, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015249)

I suggest googling "augmented reality" to get an idea of how what I mean, the purpose is to take video input (and other sources of input) and augmenting with information from say, a computer, before displaying it on a head-mounted display. Or say, to have an IR camera mounted on the HMD in addition to the regular cameras, thus making it possible to use that video input to "see in IR".

/Mikael

Re:VR was more hype than reality (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015607)

That's depressing. I can't recall having been so disappointed in /.'s "geek" credibility. Anyone who reads/posts here has NO business being confused about a) why a head-mounted semi-transparent display is FUNDAMENTALLY different than a large wall-mounted LCD or b) what augmented reality is.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015807)

Personally I'd rather have a neural interface, that way I can use my eyes for normal stuff. while having aux video channels for other stuff.

Of course being able to superimpose stuff on the vision field can be very useful. Esp for the military - semi occluded weapons and vehicles getting highlighted. Snipers being located either from the weapon recognition or via the "crack and thump".

Anyway such stuff will also be good for those with memory impairment.

They've already got mind reading stuff - after training where you think of various different objects, they can later tell which of those objects you are thinking of.

So combine the training (check your brain patterns) with the acquisition (artificial "brain" records stuff - video+audio), then the next time you have those brain patterns, the e-brain will just playback stuff (to your aux channels). To turn it on/off use "escape sequences" (unique brain patterns that won't occur normally - e.g. thinking of a purple steak eating a blue carrot).

Re:VR was more hype than reality (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015341)

One word: Counterbalance.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015493)

How would I go about mounting a 50" LCD monitor or a projector + screen on my head in a way that doesn't make result in me constantly falling over?

Well, the WRAP linked to in TFS claims to be equivalent to a 60" monitor as viewed from 9' away - So I think you're there. Unless of course you're really dedicated to the actual physical size, but the boom mount that you'll need to get that 50" display far enough away to see is going to cause some serious neck strain...

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

ChangelingJane (1042436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015757)

The reason they use the "X inch monitor as viewed from Y feet away" description is to deceive you. The description always sounds more impressive than the actual result.

"It's like watching a 5 foot monitor from a mile away! You are blown away by meaninglessly inflated numbers! HUAH!"

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

ChangelingJane (1042436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015765)

Or 50 foot. That's even better.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015505)

Nail yourself to the wall?

Counterweight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015509)

Duh.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015581)

project I've been thinking of starting

Famous last words...

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015791)

The problem is not just fitting a high quality HUD into your sunglasses, it's also a lot of the software that would be required to make any sort of useful "altered reality." In particular I'm thinking of the current deficiency in image recognition software.

While I absolutely love the idea of having google, wikipedia, wolfram alpha, and a host of other information tools and search engines at my eyes' disposal, they are nearly entirely useless if the system can't readily recognize what I'm looking at. Imagine plugging in current face recognition software into some sort of facebook/google search. It would just as likely confuse your friend "Todd" from Albany for "Paul" from San Diego or even "Raul" from the cover of "Rise of Endymion" - or "The Shrike" for that matter.

What you need is to get someone who has a good idea for a better way to write image recognition software in bed with someone who has a hand in flexible/small display technology. They'll do a little dance, make some mess, and 9-30 months later the baby will be a pair of sunglasses granting your very cool wish for altered reality.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

mikeage (119105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015825)

How would I go about mounting a 50" LCD monitor or a projector + screen on my head in a way that doesn't make result in me constantly falling over?

Use it sitting down?

Re:VR was more hype than reality (5, Insightful)

shogun (657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015127)

The VR of the 90's is dead. Long live augmented realtiy.

Augmented reality != Isolated VR rooms as you have described above.

Augmented reality requires transparent HMDs or something similar so that visual reality can be augmented with extra information and not hugeass displays in a room somewhere.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015139)

That large flat screen is pretty heavy to carry around and a hundred foot extension cord for using it outside is annoying...

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

alexmin (938677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015141)

"...you can blow up a flatscreen to epic proportions..." - good luck doing that on a commuter train. And I spend about two hours on it each weekday.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (2, Interesting)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015621)

an ipod touch held with my elbows on the arm rests gives just about the same apparent screen size of my toshiba satellite wide screen laptop on my lap (with the screen sticking up from about my knees). The laptop is sufficient for watching videos in just about any resolution, as is the ipod touch running at its scaled resolution. I think that the primary use of head mounted displays was that when the were "The future", hand held movie devices were the size of the shrunk down playstation 1s. So the "Travel with a display in your pocket" is sort of moot because a pair of reading glasses and an ipod touch/iphone is "good enough" for anybody for movie watching on the go.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (4, Funny)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015159)

Dammit, I want my Terminator HUD explaining objects to me as I look at them.

That crunching sound? Oh, that's the sound of you crushing MY WILDEST DREAMS.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (5, Funny)

greenguy (162630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015315)

While that would be cool for us, it was really pretty ridiculous for the use it was given in the Terminator movies. I mean, come on... the most efficient way to get information from a cyborg's archives into working memory is by displaying it in English in the visual field? In the peripheral vision, no less?

Re:VR was more hype than reality (5, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015551)

Especially the constant reviewing of commented 6502 source code for reading and writing to floppy disks by track and sector! Why possible purpose does it serve to be reading that while shooting up a police department?

Re:VR was more hype than reality (3, Funny)

ChangelingJane (1042436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015801)

He's obviously got some extra CPU cycles to burn.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (5, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015613)

Yeah - ridiculous for a cyborg, but awesome for me. I can't tell you how useful it would be for me if, when somebody walked up to me at a party, I received the following tips on my head's-up:

* Name: John
* Relationship: Husband of wife's co-worker
* How well known?: Talked 3 times informally
* Drink/Smoke: Y/N
* Topics to avoid: Christian (fanatic), Janet (knocking her off behind wife's back)
* Suggested topics: MMA/UFC, Italian food

Would save me a lot of awkward conversation lulls.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015723)

You kid, but with facial recognition and today's social networking profiles, you could more or less do that already if you had a head-mounted display.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015667)

^^Omg Terminator movies are SOOOOO FAAAAAAKE!

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015837)

Obviously not, but that is the best way to get the concept of whats going on, into a form us humans can understand, duh! Like when the communications of the 2nd foundation are transcribed into words because their form of communication is so advanced we wouldn't understand it!

Re:VR was more hype than reality (4, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015361)

You know, I've been wearing glasses since I was 12 or so and all of this time they have always been a hindrance. They fall off, get crushed by a passer-by when I'm swimming, get scratched up, press up against my face when I fall asleep in the chair, fly off when I get on a roller coaster, get in the way when kissing and cause all other kinds of trouble. It would be nice to get something extra out of the bit of wasted realestate on my face.

Nerd rage, baby!

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015527)

I had LASIK a couple of years ago, and have been tickled pink with the results. I went from -7 diopters in both eyes to 20/20. I'm in my mid-forties, so it was likely I would need reading glasses, but so far, I have not.

I hear they can help correct farsightedness now as well.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015595)

I used to wear glasses for about 20 years since the age of 6, until I just got completly pissed of with the hassle of them - the main one being the feeling of always looking through a narrow window on the world, so I just stopped stopped one day and feel better for it.

My right eye almost permanently sees the world in a blur (glasses never could get it to see things in sharp focus) but my left eye compensates enough to cycle/drive/solder SMD without any magnifying optics (though I do use a magnifying glass to check afterwards).

Only recently after about 8 years of not wearing them I think I may go back to the opticians for a new pair, not for general wearing but just for archery, I aim with my right eye which as I just mentioned is pretty buggered, so when I start shooting much longer distances (60+ yards) I'll need more precision on aiming.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (3, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015365)

Have you read "Rainbows End," by Vernor Vinge?

I know it's not what you want (reality), it's fiction, but it's got some interesting concepts.

For example, that computer display might as well just be on a contact lens instead on some bulky headset.

Moreover, more than describing objects, you can color the world any way you want... want it to look medieval? It'll change the houses you see while walking down the street into huts and castles; someone riding a bike looks like they're riding a horse... and always online and always communicating with your friends.

I'd hate it, but can see some applications that would be cool.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015471)

That computer display might as well be in your brain.

Silly to have it on a contact lens.

There are already neural interfaces. They're not very good - since the brain moves about, and there are other issues to solve.

But I'm pretty sure the brain can learn to use extra input and output channels especially if "installed" at a young age.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015615)

I read a book where the computer/brain interface was done by injected nano-machines. So no external gadgetry needed. And practical telepathy.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015569)

Have you read "Rainbows End," by Vernor Vinge?
I know it's not what you want (reality), it's fiction, but it's got some interesting concepts.
For example, that computer display might as well just be on a contact lens instead on some bulky headset.

Screw contact lenses. If you want an awesome Vernor Vinge innovation in user interfaces, consider the A Deepness in the Sky [wikipedia.org] and its version of localizers: smart dust which can "learn" to directly stimulate a user's optic nerve to create computer graphics within the visual system itself.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015185)

Why spend thousands of dollars smooshing a high resolution display to your face when you can blow up a flatscreen to epic proportions and get all the resolution you need?

Giant flatscreens aren't very portable, which makes them less practical for on-the-go applications (including, but not limited to, augmented reality) compared to HMDs -- presuming, of course, you can get a good HMD. Which is one reason why people want HMDs.

The high end stuff allows researchers to build entire rooms where gyroscopes and camera tracking provide location information while the subject is surrounded by projected images or large flat panels.

Which is great, if you want to hang out in that room. Not so great if you don't.

In short, don't hold your breath. The VR of the 90's is dead. Long live augmented realtiy.

Uh, yeah. But all the things you are talking about -- dedicated rooms with big flatscreens and position tracking -- are the tools of (advanced versions of) 1990s-style VR. HMDs that go with you in your day-to-day life, connect to wearable computers which themselves connect to ubiquitous wireless data networks, and present information on demand (or, better, autonomously) relevant to your immediate needs are the tools augmented reality.

Re:VR is the future (1)

0x537461746943 (781157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015199)

"HMD does nothing additional other than give you headache." After my experiences with the virtual i/o glasses back in 1995 I disagree with your statement. Head tracking and virtual head glasses are the future IMHO. Why mount a monitor in front of you which is static when you could have a virtual monitor in front of you that rotates your view as you look around. Instead of just a monitor in front it would seem like you have a 360 degree monitor in all directions. Some of the best VR I experienced was with the game that actually came with it that was very low res and no shading on the polygons (even for its time it was low res). But the immersion into that world was just fantastic and made up for it. I look forward to a day when a 3d desktop if available in a VR headset with head tracking. A bonus for me would be with some kind of 3d input device. Compiz fusion on X is starting to get some effects that might indicate that direction (3d cube desktop) but there is quite a bit to go before we can use a 3d VR headset with head tracking.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (5, Insightful)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015363)

Why spend thousands of dollars smooshing a high resolution display to your face when you can blow up a flatscreen to epic proportions and get all the resolution you need? Practically speaking, the HMD does nothing additional other than give you headache.

Because it just hangs on the wall, probably doesn't provide 3D, and I stop seeing it the moment I turn around or leave the room.

Take the Wii Remote as an example. Accelerometers and IR sensors work together to provide precise positioning. A gyroscope powered attachment called the Motion+ is coming out to close the gap on orientation difficulties. That's the low-end and look at what has already been achieved. The high end stuff allows researchers to build entire rooms where gyroscopes and camera tracking provide location information while the subject is surrounded by projected images or large flat panels.

That's a very restricted solution. It works if you have a room to dedicate to it, and you're happy enough to interact with the system in one unique place. I think that's a pain and very limiting. Technology advances towards being portable. Making a huge investment in something I can't use most of the time seems the wrong way to go for me.

The end goal is to blur the line between man and machine rather than having the machine trick man into believing he's in a different world. As it turns out, bluring the line between reality and unreality is hella lot easier than trying to replace the current reality.

Er, a room covered with displays is exactly the old concept of VR. You're replacing reality completely there, except that instead wearing hardware it's all around you.

In short, don't hold your breath. The VR of the 90's is dead. Long live augmented realtiy.

My understanding of "augmented reality" is precisely an HMD that mixes reality with VR. Things like:

Constant Internet connection that can be used at any time in any place

GPS overlay right over your vision while walking on the street

Vision enhacement - take the normal vision and modify it, by highlighting important things, removing ads, allow attaching a virtual sticky note on any building, extra cameras that allow to see from the back of your head or in infrared, easy lookups of data about things you see.

AR games: Merge reality and a game, playing say, a FPS in a park. Create a chessboard on any surface.

Merging RL with another world: I'd really like to be able to for instance merge RL with Second Life and make it so that somebody from SL can virtually sit near me and appear to be there.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015447)

Mounting a 50" LCD to the ceiling so I can watch TV in bed doesn't solve the problem of the light from the screen keeping my wife awake.

You can't wear a 42 inch plasma display (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015601)

"Why spend thousands of dollars smooshing a high resolution display to your face when you can blow up a flatscreen to epic proportions and get all the resolution you need? Practically speaking, the HMD does nothing additional other than give you headache."

Because you cannot wear a flat screen of epic proportions. Way to entirely miss the OP's reasoning for wanting a HMD.

What If i want an augmented reality display that will let me surf the web while I'm at the supermarket, so I can look up coupons or my shopping list.

YOU may be happy wandering around with a 42" plasma screen strapped to your face as you look for a power outlet to plug it into, but the rest of us would like something we can mount on our glasses and project the information into our eyes, and our eyes alone, because it's portable and private.
Practically speaking, you've got your head up your ass.

Re:VR was more hype than reality (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015813)

Uhm.. you've never had a real decent HMD on your head I hear, no bigscreen flatscreen can match a decent 3d-HMD with tracking.. It's just a whole different ballgame.. even lower-resolution HMD's with 800x600 (hell even 640x480) is a completely different experience as a 1600x1200 flatscreen..

The Movie Hackers (1)

necrodeep (96704) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015129)

Been wanting one since the movie Hackers came out back in the mid-90s - which Zero Cool used. Loved the idea, have looked for years yet nothing has ever quite done it.

Re:The Movie Hackers (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015359)

Ah, Hackers. That was back when Angelina Jolie looked slightly less bizarre than she does now.

The shoot your eyes out!! (2, Interesting)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015153)

The main issue as I recall with all of the projection glasses were the concern of eye strain because of too much light. I had a pair of the old sony classes, and they were no doubt hard on the eyes. In fact, I think they had a 4 hour limit of usage as I recall...

In short... Unless the business world converts to a French way of living, I dont think that your glasses will every find their way into high end applications anytime soon.

Re:The shoot your eyes out!! (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015375)

Unless the business world converts to a French way of living ...

A premise for a good joke, no doubt, but I'm having trouble getting the one that was already made. It's sunny in Paris? The French wear expensive glasses? R&D can't be done without long lunches and a pack of Gaulloise? Resenting the English increases market share?

Re:The shoot your eyes out!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015525)

The joke is that the French have shorter working hours than the US (in actuality a 35-hour work-week) with the hyperbolic implication that they work 4 hours a day.

Re:The shoot your eyes out!! (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015655)

Haha silly french. I work far less than that on any given day. Now if only I could get away with not being in this pesky office.

Re:The shoot your eyes out!! (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015643)

R&D can't be done without long lunches and a pack of Gaulloise?

Personally I'd leave out the cigarettes, but otherwise that's spot-on. :-)

Re:The shoot your eyes out!! (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015659)

Too much light is trivially easy to solve. Put a layer of material like sunglasses inside the glasses to cut the light down to whatever is tolerable.

While it's true that too much light can give you eyestrain and headaches (talk to any skier), there is no HMD that puts out anywhere close to that much light. It's not the light that gives you problems, with HMDs. It's the refresh rate, and ever-so-slightly screwed up optics that don't match your eyes closely enough. Human binocular vision isn't simple. An HMD that presents images that are slightly at variance with how your eyes normally see will always give you a headache. Hell, just get new glasses. If they're sufficiently different from your old prescription, you're likely to get a headache from them too, and you're looking at reality when it happens.

I'm convinced that HMDs are feasible, but even the simple one-flat-screen-for-each-eye design is going to require an optometrist in the box (so to speak) to adjust them, and a substantial number of adjustment points. I can imagine calibration software, together with a jeweler's screwdriver, taking the user through fitting routines. First choose comfortable snap-on nose and earpieces, then put on the goggles, plug them in, and start the calibration routine. It leads you through turning screws at fit points at temples and bridge that can move and tilt the internal screens, until some specially designed series of images look right to you. (Winging it here, since I'm not an optometrist, but I see them often enough that the general idea should be reasonable.) The display should probably be sold in three or four different physical sizes too, and people should buy the right size by measuring the distance across their eyes.

Now of course what I would prefer is a wrap-around display that gives me a field of view at least 200 degrees horizontally and 100 degrees vertically, and includes a layer of clear optical smart-gel on the inside that self-calibrates for my eyes. I need it as a HUD for my flying car...

Re:The shoot your eyes out!! (2, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015809)

Why emit light in the first place?
Some display technologies, such as electronic paper, don't.

Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015157)

I was thinking the same thing just yesterday!

WRAP 920AV (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015197)

That looks seriously cool. Now, if it can work wirelessly with an iPhone (or similar device), include the camera and head tracking attachments, you have an entire platform for augmented reality right there.

I suppose if you needed extra horsepower, you could put straps on a laptop and wear it as a backpack...

Re:WRAP 920AV (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015685)

Now, if it can work wirelessly with an iPhone (or similar device), include the camera and head tracking attachments, you have an entire platform for augmented reality right there.

Personally, I have found myself wanting the ability to use my iPhone while walking or having it in my pocket without having to take it out.

I mean the walking part I can do... Just not well seeing having to look down at the device or making my arms tired holding it up in my face. If I could some how use the iPhone in my pocket to text or surf and see the text in front of my face rather than looking down all the time would be a plus.

Kopin, as used by Mann (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015201)

http://www.kopin.com/about-cyberdisplay/ [kopin.com] (Tiny LCDs.)
http://wearcam.org/ [wearcam.org] (More complex than regular 'partially transparent' displays, but _far_ more capable - look up Mediated Reality / Augmented Reality.)

Wearable display â VR (3, Funny)

Neuroticwhine (1024687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015229)

I feel that to bring up motion tracking blurs the line between VR and a more mundane wearable display. I could see countless uses for a wearable display.

For instance the ability to watch/play with out disturbing anyone else in the room (yes some people that read /. have other people in their rooms)... and i guess it might be fun to be able to watch pr0n with no one around to be the wiser.

I demand my pr0n glasses!

Re:Wearable display â VR (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015631)

and i guess it might be fun to be able to watch pr0n with no one around to be the wiser.

Unless it also induces temporary erectile dysfunction, someone's gonna notice. At least until you get desensitized to it due to constant exposure.

Chicken vs Egg (2, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015255)

I think that head mounted displays face something of a chicken vs. the egg situation. Simply put there just aren't currently any real applications for such a device. Traditional video obscures your vision. So, in order to watch it on one of these you must be standing (or sitting) still in one place. In which case traditional displays are simply a more economic way of showing the video anyways.

I suppose that the "killer app" for head mounted displays is augmented reality (or AR), in which you would overlay digital data on the real world. But such technology is very much still in the laboratory stage of development (although some of it is just starting to make its way onto smart phones).

Re:Chicken vs Egg (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015333)

I think what you're saying is that until PORN comes available on HMD, it isn't going to take off. You'd be amazed at how much porn drives technology.

Re:Chicken vs Egg (1)

GenP (686381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015585)

Done. [asiajin.com]

Re:Chicken vs Egg (1)

swattz101 (569068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015511)

Sound like the tech I read about some years ago where lasers where mounted on a pair of eyeglasses. The lasers imprinted an image on the back of your retina so that the "screen" floated in front of you with a transparent background so you could still see. You wore some sort of augmented gloves so you could "reach" out and move objects floating in front of you or type on a virtual keyboard. When I read about it, the device had wires that ran to a portable computer a little larger than a hard drive that you kept in your pocket. I could see the same idea now-a-days using BlueTooth or Zigbee. It would be real interesting to see something like this with the motion tracking or spatial reality. Add to this another device that I remember reading about that helps paraplegics use computers. A device that tracks eye movement to the cursor and blinks for mouse clicks. I think it was an old MIT project, I'll have to look it up and post a link if I find it.

Netbook + HiRes HMD + Google Street View-like app (1)

DELNI-AA (1132369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015295)

Augmented reality!

Double-blink the restaurant to see the menu!

Double-blink the shopping window to see product specs

I'v been waiting for this since sometime 1998!

Cheers
Peter

Re:Netbook + HiRes HMD + Google Street View-like a (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015413)

Double-blink the restaurant to see the menu!

Double-blink the shopping window to see product specs

I've been waiting for this since sometime 1998!

And a small blast of compressed air can momentarily blind a user, followed by the user frantically trying to close all the pop-ups before he crashes his car.

It's funny how few people actually answered the qu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015309)

I know the University of Washington was working on Retina-based displays, anyone have news or an update on that?

Re: Commercial HMDs, It's been quiet afaik. Nothing in the HDTV resolutions that everyone seems to be craving.

my laundry list (4, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015347)

I want some sort of HMD or wearable computer so badly. I want a camera to record where I go and what I do and act as a backup for my cranial memory. I want it to recognize faces to keep track of my history that person. I want an internet connection everywhere so that I can call up an alternative recipe on the fly when I realize at the last minute that I'm missing an ingredient. I want to use the sum analyses of my automotive commutes to recommend ways I can change my driving behaviour to extend the life of my car and use less fuel. I want ubiquitous, always-ready, augmented reality. I want to evolve and extend my senses beyond what any human has ever been capable of, and I want to keep my private matters private.

Is that so much to ask?

Yes too much to ask :) (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015591)

Yes. Because the MPAA, RIAA etc would want DRM installed.

In a shopping mall with copyrighted music playing in the background? Then backup for your cranial memory is only allowed if you pay per recall and for the "format shifting".

Radio playing somewhere? Same.

Watching a movie in a cinema? Sorry, please check your auxiliary "brain" at the counter first before you are allowed in.

A penny for "your" thoughts would be considered too cheap.

Better fix copyright first, otherwise this augmented stuff isn't going to work so well. You're not supposed to do "telepathy" if the multimedia you're sending to your friends contains some copyrighted material.

The tech is not far off. Monkeys can already play games with just their thoughts. The blind can see with their tongues. People without limbs can feel and control stuff with stuff attached to their chest muscles/nerves.

I'm just not optimistic about the laws.

Re:my laundry list (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015735)

Is that so much to ask?

I hope not, 'cause I want this too.

the problem is purely social... (4, Insightful)

ecloud (3022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015353)

People just don't want to be teased with "hey Geordi" everywhere. It's bad enough at my job... I have a Linux box and a Windows box, each with dual monitors (not particularly big ones) and it's always "hey Houston, are you sure you don't need another monitor?" Everyone else

I always thought HMDs sounded like a great idea, too. I guess they won't be socially accepted until they're integrated into eyeglasses without any noticeable extra bulges anywhere, and wireless too. How to get the battery into such a small form factor will be quite a trick to pull off.

Re:the problem is purely social... (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015763)

"hey Houston, are you sure you don't need another monitor?"

That's a good one. I am going to have to remember that.

Re:the problem is purely social... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015849)

Work somewhere else? At the places I've worked, if you don't want your extra monitor, someone would volunteer to "adopt" it pretty quick.

Disappointment about the future. (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015357)

You know I'm the son of the baby boomer generation. We were promised a lot. We were all told we were special and that we'd have all these new things to do things with and new ways to do stuff. Just the other day I wanted to know where my wise cracking robot was that could do everything like wash the dishes and wipe my backside after eating Indian 4 days in a row. All our generation was left with was a debt that will take us most of our working adult years to pay off, wars for no good reason at all we gotta fix, and new and more complex social problems to deal with. I applaud you for wanting to know where your high def head set is. I would like to know where mine is as well.

Re:Disappointment about the future. (2, Insightful)

gishzida (591028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015687)

Um... As a boomer I have to agree with you... Our generation was promised a lot too and what did we get? An 2nd rate Actor with dementia and later a village idiot from Texas... not that we weren't warned (see Gladiator at Law and The Space Merchants).

We didn't get to cruise in Cyber Space we got Snow Crashed in AOL.

Who cares for places like Face Book? What happened to the cool places? Who's running Simulacron-3?

We've been talking about AI for 60 years but it appears the Ghost in the Shell is still born (regardless of those promoting a Singularity... unless it's name is Rush)

Prognostication (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015403)

The headmounted displays were accidently left in the flying cars in parking lot of the lunar hotel.

Whatâ(TM)s the big deal with head tracking? (1)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015411)

Iâ(TM)ve never been a huge fan of head tracking. I mean, it sounds like a cool idea, but it seems like it would require either excessive movement on your part to do anything meaningful, or it would require you to sit almost absolutely still in order to keep your display even semi-stable. The real problem though is with people that would wear them in public. We already hate people that wear Bluetooth headsets everywhere (you know who you are), how fun would it be to have somebody that looks like theyâ(TM)re looking at you, when in reality theyâ(TM)re looking up dirty pictures of Summer Glao on the internet.

Whoops (1)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015423)

Wow, not sure what happened there, apparently slashdot isn't a huge fan of apostrophes.

Re:Whatâ(TM)s the big deal with head tracking (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015583)

looking up dirty pictures of Summer Glao on the internet.*** I am interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter,if it comes with the dirty pictures.

Re:Whatâ(TM)s the big deal with head tracking (1)

vajrabum (688509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015819)

Head tracking would presumably enable a more stable and better job of adding captions or labels to street signs, business store fronts or whatever it is. The point is to project something like Google Street view with captions onto the real world. Ideally these things look like regular glasses or are simply contact lenses but that's likely to be a few years down the road. Vernor Vinge won a Hugo for Rainbow's End whose story to a certain extent revolved around exactly this technology. Store fronts and business end up completely bland because everybody is looking at "skins" projected by the hud in their contact lenses or glasses.

Just wait until Apple comes out with one. (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015417)

> I have been awaiting a lightweight, head-mounted display that actually has decent
> resolution and doesn't look like a brick tied to your face.

It will still look like a brick tied to your face but it will be from Apple so it will be cool.

mod 30wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015429)

a GAY NIGGER 'I have to kill channel #GNNA on during which I with the work, or MOVIE [im3b.com] Just yet, but I'm all know we want. These early

This already exists! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015451)

I bought these a while back
http://www.3dvisor.com/products.php
They work, they are OLED, and they are for around $500. They have head tracking built into them too. I ran Half Life 2 on it, and it was amazing.
Only problem with all VR is the fact that most people, including myself, got sick after playing for 10 minutes. Its due to factors of what the corner of your eyes sees, your ear balance, and the relation to the uncalibrated movement in the game.

Re:This already exists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015635)

Everyone buy these so my Emagin (EMAN) stock will go up!!

glasses? (4, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015491)

  HMD's are so retro-chic. Don't you know that all the cool research is now tapping the brain's retina layer to augment/alter vision?

  These days, I'm waiting for the hat/camera/socket that allow for text overlay, enhanced-spectrum cameras, and novel perspectives to our existing firmware.

  Remember, when dreaming go big.

Re:glasses? (2, Funny)

just fiddling around (636818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015703)

That's the deal before any surgeon touches my eyes: if I can't get night vision, thermographic imagery, zoom and a HUD, nothing gets done.

To hell with laser surgery, I want cyber-eyes.

Microvision (2, Informative)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015521)

Microvision have all the patents for HMD/Retinal display, and is currently working with the US Army... for a few years.
So you won't see any good HMD that doesn't give you an headache this year. Please retry later ;)

IT'ssssss (1, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015523)

in the trunk of my anti-grav car parked in my luxury mansion orbiting Uranus.

DigiLens? (4, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015533)

Its not Hi-Res but its something people would wear more than some bulky goggles:

http://www.digilens.com/products.html [digilens.com]

Its more for augmented reality than virtual reality.

Of course if you've a thousand dollars to blow there is always one of Emagin's products:

http://www.3dvisor.com/ [3dvisor.com]

because we soon found that (4, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015545)

a 2" screen a half inch from your eye was not the way the human eye was intended to work. no offense to how cool it would be though, but our eyes just have not evolved for that type of input.. things like depth perception, spatial awareness and stereoscopy break down. the best we can do is overlay projections which have been used in broadway musicals for years, and HUD which has been used to help old people drive cars and young people blow up third world countries.

Re:because we soon found that (3, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015785)

You know, some of us would be willing to have the display involve a lens as well as the actual display element. Then your eye could focus at a normal distance (2m or so, for example) and see the tiny display in-focus.

OLED to the rescue (again) (2, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015567)

I bet weight and size has something to do with this. When OLED screen tech becomes commonplace, we'll see plenty more of these things. In addition to the other advantages of OLED, the high aperture ratio is useful (to avoid the screen door [wikipedia.org] effect), the size and weight is reduced compared to even LCD, and perhaps even more importantly, the viewing angle issue is solved completely.

Perhaps more importantly, OLED can probably obtain a much higher pixel density more easily (considering this source [microoled.net] , and also how small the 11" TV from Sony is...). The former mentioned a 0.38" display with a resolution of 560,000 pixels (1.7 million subpixels) in a press release. Anything even remotely close to that would be amazing.

First lets consult an expert.. (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015605)

"There is virtually no problem capitalism can't solve. Demand for such a device will entice manufacturers into the market because they will see the opportunity to make money. As other manufacturers see competitors making the big bucks they will be drawn into the market creating a surplus of devices and lowering the prices for the consumer."

"In no time almost everyone will walking around in their own high resolution digital world with brick like devices on their face and the extra large headphones that are the rage with iPoders. If we don't like seeing smog simply write a script that filters it out. Tired of looking at trash - a few bash commands and its no more."

Personally I'm holding out for smella vision (TM me).

Things are the way they are because that is the way they should be...

DR. PANGLOSS

Virtual Boy (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015619)

The problem was that Virtual Boy had terrible games and gave users a headache.

Had Virtual Boy succeeded, we might see more of this kind of thing.

Re:Virtual Boy (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015797)

I still enjoy playing wario world on mine... I never got headaches from it, though.

Re:Virtual Boy (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015833)

Had Virtual Boy succeeded, we might see more of this kind of thing.

Virtual boy was VR "done wrong".

It was monochrome and it was basically used a spinning mirror to simulate the 3d effect.

No wonder kids got headache's after an hour.

I second that emotion (1)

rmcclelland (1383541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015637)

I think a high def lightweight HMD would really change things. It is an idea who's time has come. I could sit in bed or on the train and work as if I were in my office and interact with data in new ways. Not to mention the games! Ryan

A small brick, unaffordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015789)

They aren't sunglasses, but they also aren't full bricks: nVisor ST [nvisinc.com] , nVisor MX90 [nvisinc.com] .

$20k.

1. Drool over new tech.
2. Wait a few years.
3. Drool over early but unaffordable products.
4. Wait for some market to force affordability.
5. Die of old age, a bitter and disappointed nerd.

Crowds of ghosts with unfinished business haunt CES.

as if i don't have enough to worry about... (1)

ilblissli (1480165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015827)

great... as if i don't have enough to worry about when driving to work on my motorcycle. now i have to watch out for nimrods trying to watch a movie on their iPod while driving. i can't wait :|

Joint Strike Fighter helmet (4, Interesting)

Goldenhawk (242867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015851)

It ain't cheap, and I doubt you could even buy one if you had the cash, but for state of the art, do a little research into the HMD for the JSF (helmet mounted display for the Joint Strike Fighter / F-35). From the Rockwell Collins website:
"Vision Systems International (VSI), a joint venture between Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems Ltd. of Israel, is developing the Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) for the JSF. VSI's HMD offers a compact, versatile, lightweight and extremely rugged display with low power consumption. The JSF HMD is a binocular off-the-visor display providing the pilot with a large field-of-view video/calligraphic image to both eyes."

http://www.vsi-hmcs.com/f35.htm [vsi-hmcs.com]

From what I've read, it's simply amazing. The pilot will be able to look in ANY direction (including straight thru his body or the bottom or rear of the cockpit) to see augmented reality - with data fused from multiple sensors including infrared and radar, overlaid on the real world.

http://uscockpits.com/Jet%20Fighters/F-35_Cockpit_(dusk_with_virtual_HMD).jpg [uscockpits.com]

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f-35-hmds-pulls-the-gs-04088/ [defenseindustrydaily.com]

By the way, "calligraphic" is worth noting. A normal video image simply cannot create very bright and precise light points, because it's a raster image. But a calligraphic display effectively overcomes this limitation, by using a separate CRT gun to hit the same phosphors with much more power in a non-raster format. So the display is a combined raster and beam system, providing some ability to provide very precise details at much higher brightness, while also allowing normal full-color display.

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