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New Display Keeps an Eye On the Viewer

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the apparently-it-watches-the-watchers dept.

Displays 61

Al writes "Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) have developed an OLED display that doubles as a camera. The idea is to use it in lightweight heads-up displays that track users' eye movements, affording some form of gaze-control. The researchers will demonstrate a prototype at the Society for Information Display conference in San Antonio this week. The current version has a simple monochromatic display: it is 1.25 centimeters on each side, with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. The team at Fraunhofer IPMS has also partnered with Novaled, an OLED company that manufactures high-quality white diodes, and plans to make color prototypes using the technology."

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61 comments

Paranoia! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231233)

Any idea the current price on tinfoil glasses?

Re:Paranoia! (2, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231253)

I just made a few now. In fact, I'm now working on a complete mask+hat+glasses combo. I'm going to be so safe now!

Re:Paranoia! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28236391)

You forgot terahertz radiation.
I recommend full-body tinfoil suits.

Re:Paranoia! (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28251419)

I just made a few now. In fact, I'm now working on a complete mask+hat+glasses combo. I'm going to be so safe now!

And if anyone looks at you funny, you can just say you're on your way to a costume party as Jiffy-Pop Popcorn.

Re:Paranoia! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28235427)

I've actually made tin foil glasses -- you make the foil dark on the inside to cut down reflections, then poke them full of pinholes, and in an emergency, these will let you see even if your glasses are a strong prescription.

There needs to be good lighting though. And you look like a gigantic nerd.

Incorporate this in a TV along with a cable modem- (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231255)

And BLAMMO-- Big brother is watching!

Re:Incorporate this in a TV along with a cable mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231433)

My thought exactly. FINALLY a story that actually deserves the "bigbrother" tag.

20 Minutes Into the Future (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28251463)

I went with the twowaysampler and maxheadroom tags.

I think I'll add videophone to the list too.

Re:Incorporate this in a TV along with a cable mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233641)

And BLAMMO-- Big brother is watching!

Wooooah....you mean widespread proliferation of cameras in the homes of citizens transmitting to and controlled by centralized authorities would allow them to see what you're doing in front of the cameras?

Damn, where'd you learn all that fancy thinking?

reversal (5, Funny)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231277)

In Soviet Russia, screen watches you!

Re:reversal (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231507)

Fraunhofer IPMS [google.de] is in Dresden, I wanted to link to Soviet Russia but my Time Travelling [wikipedia.org] Portal is still in prototype and it only takes me back to the time when missing meme's was funny!

Re:reversal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231565)

Missing meme's what?

Re:reversal (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231767)

It went missing.

Re:reversal (4, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231941)

In Soviet Russia, screen watches you!

You laugh, but this invention is important. Video-phones cannot catch on without it, because humans require eye contact in order to trust each other. You can't have eye contact over a video-phone unless your camera is also your monitor.

important to who? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233697)

The sheep or the herder?

Re:important to who? (1)

Ifandbut (1328775) | more than 5 years ago | (#28247513)

Troll.

If you have ever used a video conferencing program you will notice that the other person's eyes are always looking off to one side trying to make contact with your eyes.

Eye tracking glasses (3, Interesting)

mrjb (547783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231299)

1.25 centimeters- that's half an inch. Perhaps a bit too small yet for use in a monitor- but probably reasonably easy to scale up to the size of a pair of glasses. Incorporating a camera display on the inside of a pair of glasses would make eye tracking much simpler, and reduce any privacy concerns- Even if someone would be watching along with the video stream being captured by the glasses, all there would be to see would be eye movements.

Re:Eye tracking glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231859)

old news i have had a couple pairs of these for months

Re:Eye tracking glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234977)

Wouldn't what you were watching be reflected on your eyes?

Re:Eye tracking glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234979)

Even if someone would be watching along with the video stream being captured by the glasses, all there would be to see would be eye movements.

So, you don't see a privacy concern with Google building a database of where, how fast, and in what order your point of focus goes on every search page you view?

Typo in summary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231323)

usersl

The "l" is on the wrong side.

-- BOFH

Re:Typo in summary (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231571)

Perhaps he's using a virtual keyboard with the eye tracking monitor and he blinked.

Apple might have a patent for this... (3, Insightful)

distantbody (852269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231331)

...They submitted a patent application for something like this in January 2006 see here [engadget.com] . Personally I would prefer to use a discreet webcam.

Re:Apple might have a patent for this... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231407)

Fuck Apple.

Re:Apple might have a patent for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231455)

There are some advantages, for instance depth perception, the sides of the monitor are going to be able to see you from both the left and right.

It can also double as a touch screen since the tip of your finger up close will be detectable only by the sensors directly under it.

It could also scan documents in by pushing them onto the screen.

Re:Apple might have a patent for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231483)

This, cameras are:
1) Already more advanced, with less circuitry required.
2) Cheaper to add in
3) Easily upgradeable, creating a small source of income for snap-in cameras?

3 would be a nice thing to see, it would make things so much simpler to have cameras IN the monitors. (plus, it fits with the actual name too, they will be monitoring you as well)
Have it work wirelessly (bluetooth or similar) and you could make it removable for any of those times you want to move it around for whatever reason.

Re:Apple might have a patent for this... (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231489)

No problem. The institute will simply license the technology to Apple, who will probably screw up doing anything meaningful with it. Then after the patent is expired (as things are developing, probably in 170 years from now) everyone can use this technology. Everything is fine, no?

Re:Apple might have a patent for this... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234133)

You don't re-invent the light bulb and license it back to Thomas Edison. He sues you for giving or selling away his patented invention and you move behind the dumpster at the grocery store and die in obscurity.

Re:Apple might have a patent for this... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231993)

Personally I would prefer to use a discreet webcam.

It doesn't get much more discreet than not having a lens. Maybe you meant discrete?

Prototype, eh? (5, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231333)

The camera in the researchers' current prototype is still fairly rudimentary. It has a resolution of only 12 pixels, which means that it can't yet track a user's eye movements.

In other news, I have made a prototype flying car in my garage. It doesn't fly yet, but I have put some stylish looking fins on it.

Re:Prototype, eh? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231545)

This one flies! [youtube.com]

Re:Prototype, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231653)

Not like this [youtube.com] .

Re:Prototype, eh? (3, Insightful)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231841)

Fraunhofer guys invented MP3 compression, this German think tank do have results..

Also this is proof of concept. It doesn't really matter whether the resolution is 12 or 1024.

Re:Prototype, eh? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231963)

This is a different institute in the Fraunhofer Society, though.

1984 anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231395)

:)

A display that watches you? (0, Redundant)

TheCreeep (794716) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231419)

Cool!
I bet most of the researchers came from Soviet Russia.

14 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231421)

In Sovjet Germany the Display is watching YOU

Oblig... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231449)

In Soviet Russia, TV watches YOU!

Re:Oblig... (1)

Pechkin000 (1304249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28239167)

I'd rather watch you than TV

Future seasons of BigBrother will be watching you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28231513)

I propose we call it the telescreen. And only a quarter-century late. ;)

does 1984 ring any bells? (1)

Karmada (1287900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231593)

(sarcasm) I don't know but I am keep thinking about "1984" when I am reading this post. (/sarcasm)

It had to be said (1)

Sausage Nibblets (1469103) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231613)

In Soviet Russia...

Has been being researched for a while (2, Interesting)

tomalpha (746163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231629)

I remember doing work experience at Philips Research Labs back in the mid nineties and they were working on a similar concept back then - a monitor that doubled as a flatbed scanner. It was based on an lcd monitor, with small gaps between pixels to allow light to pass through to the scanner at the back. The big challenges were getting the focal depth right, and avoiding refraction(?) patterns after the light had passed through the screen portion.

They seemed to have gotten roung that problem by placing the photoreceptors and lcd pixels at the same level. Can't wait to see a monitor sized one.

Re:Has been being researched for a while (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231671)

I believe you're talking about Diffraction [wikipedia.org] ...

Video Conferencing (1)

Orphaze (243436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28231771)

Something like this may eventually make video conferencing useful. Anyone who has actually video conferenced with someone can attest to the lack of eye contact associated with both parties looking at their screen to see each other, rather than looking at the camera sitting atop their monitor. This lack of eye contact is very annoying, and I'd go so far as to say that it defeats the entire purpose of video conferencing in the first place. A camera positioned directly behind the video conference window fixes this issue entirely.

Once that is resolved, all we have to contend with is the severe bandwidth and latency issues that make most video conferences today an exercise in low quality, laggy futility.

Do7l (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28232645)

Research, medical (1)

FiveDozenWhales (1360717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28232961)

I know eye-tracking is already used extensively in research [physorg.com] , and don't quote me on this but I think there has been some R&D going into making an eye-control system for those without the use of their arms or hands.

Telescreens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233023)

Telescreens [wikipedia.org] , anyone?

So Pajamas Media better not really be ... (1)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233059)

Commando Media behind the screen?

The last thing I need is a flash of Glenn Reynolds little blogger as he stands up after his last post.

Imagine pro sites hacked to capture the viewer... (1)

ECCN (1137677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233873)

Just invision this technology in place... Bob is surfing the web for some 'entertaining' pron... He comes across something that strikes his fancy... But Bob doesn't know that the site has been set up by / taken over by someone with nefarious intintions... Bob starts enjoying the site... (Meanwhile, back in the batcave, someone starts recording the NEW "Bob's Amateur Pron Theater" that just started streaming on the WWW......) Brings a whole new concept to the term 'Spycam'.....

How does it focus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234411)

Wouldn't it need some kind of lens? Or does it work like a facet eye?

Re:How does it focus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234725)

Wouldn't it need some kind of lens? Or does it work like a facet eye?

That actually is an interesting question. Since humans don't have facet eyes, no human knows how animals with such eyes form an image from what their eyes "sense".

I guess for videoconferencing it would rely on capturing video at the same resolution as the screen is and transporting that pixel-per pixel. If it ever gets into a further state than proof-of-concept, I'm sure we'll read about it here.

Finally! (1)

az1324 (458137) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234783)

A chance to reintroduce the Monitor Camera Monkey Picture Joke!

Head mounted display? (1)

em05 (1570983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234879)

They are using this display in head mounted displays, too! http://istar-project.org/ [istar-project.org]

How is this news? (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234941)

This has already existed for a long time [hb4u.com] .

Paper thin Microsoft Surface (1)

marciot (598356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234993)

I always figured this would be the ideal way to make a paper thin Microsoft Surface like interface. No need for rear-projection and a rear-view camera. Not sure whether this can be made cheaper than the capacitative touch surface on, say, an iPhone, but I imagine with time it will be as cheap as active-matrix LCD displays are. Afterall, you already have transistors to drive the pixels, might as well add some photodiodes in there as well for sensing.

A boon to spammers (1)

geopsychic (932419) | more than 5 years ago | (#28235915)

I can put my add where you MUST see it!

Active camouflage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28237117)

Is it just me, or would this technology be perfect for active camouflage?

Re:Active camouflage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28237373)

It's not just you...

One important ommission... (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28238875)

How does it focus without some kind of lens?

Photodetectors are a piece of cake. It's the optics that adds bulk and complexity.

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