Your retina is the screen!

Avegant Glyph. Immersive reality glasses projecting the image directly on the retina. Credits: Avegant

I remember long time ago sitting by a lab bench at the University of Washington in Seattle wearing a bulking device that was beaming a laser on my retina painting on it a page of written text. I remember how impressed I was in being able to read “without” glasses.

Technology has progressed enormously and therefore I am not surprised to see that a company, Avegant, has gone on Kickstarter to get funding for producing Glyph, a wearable headset that embeds two projectors to paint images on your two retinas.

They are embedding in a glasses-like device, see photo, a low power color LED that is reflected by 2 million micro mirrors (per each eye) directly on the retina creating a high definition image (2 million is the number of “pixel resolution” you have in HD TV). Notice that the mirrors create a sort of virtual retina beamer, they are not a screen that is being watched by the eye, as it happens in other head on displays (like the Google glass). This means that even if you are short-sighted you will still have a perfect vision!

Avegant has requested funding to start production and its aim for a 250,000$ has been met and exceeded (they got over 850,000$ in the first 20 days on Kickstarter). The plan is to hit the market in time for Christmas 2014 with a target price of 499$ (significantly lower than the expected price of Google glass).  They are foreseen a use for watching movies and playing games. However, they have also opened up the software to let third parties develop applications.

Would this be a real game changer, as Avegant CEO is claiming, in the realm of immersive reality or will it remain just another gadget for a few "aficionados"? To me it looks more like the latter, I cannot imagine myself wearing this thing; but I do realise that I am an old guy, and I remember my grandmother saying that there was no use for a washing machine, and my mother saying there was no use for a dishwasher... and yet, I couldn't live without them!

Author - Roberto Saracco

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