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Retinal Scanning Displays 143

Posted by Hemos
from the many-submissions dept.
Logic Bomb writes "The New York Times has an article covering new advances in the field of display systems that beam images directly onto the retina. An actual useable product has been developed that allows you to see a "projected" image without necessarily interfering with the rest of your vision. It sounds like a great way to watch TV or read news headlines on the bus if you ask me, but the article discusses some more, um, useful applications. )"
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Retinal Scanning Displays

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you don't want to register with NY times, replace www with channel. Let anonymous coward reign!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This stuff is going no where. Getting two sources ligned up for 3D is a real pain. The other problem is the pure clutter of the display on your visual field. Humans just don't multi-task that well. Just look at how bad drivers perform with cell phones.
    If you really want to see this stuff, the SID show is June 3-8, 2001 at the San Jose convention center.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    a variation - instead of a fixed adspot, billboards and such would be blank (they'd probably become more discreet), and use technology similar to what you see in modern tennis and baseball games, where the ad is digitally placed. to update an ad, the advertiser just updates the image in a database somehwere. imagine how cool that could be... and imagine how clean non-enhanced reality would look (sans retinal projector).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is already in the works for the next generation apache, the Longbow. While visiting the Boeing Mesa labs last march we were shown a demonstration of their simulators for it and the guy in the simulator was wearing this device that projected the HUD onto his retina...so I guess that makes this pretty old news.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    gimme some 7 Hz... 160 dB... oh my god, they're playing sound into people's ears? What are they, INSANE???

    what are you, stupid? it's a worthwhile concern, and you're not funny.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I had the opportunity to demo the microvision retinal display. It only had a red laser so the images were shades of red, but I was able to see a 3d rotating image of an engine block with pretty impressive resolution. However after I took off the unit everything I saw for the next few minutes had a green tint. It seems the red laser saturates your eyeball and brings out the green color and blue colors.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They have already bought systems that rangers can use on their helmets. It is basically an overhead map of the entire area that shows their spot, their heading, altitude, as well as unknown movement around them, and also friendly units. On top of that, their weapons now have cameras attached to them with thermal imaging, nightvision, and a whole array of lenses. They can also peep their weapon around a corner and see right out the camera without having to compromise their position by sticking their head and helmet out. Very very nifty. And deadly. I am going to assume that in about 5-10 more years the majority of grunts this will be standard issue and this will also mean a single soldier can fight without even sticking the gun but against his shoulder, but rather looking through the camera while he's hidden behind a tree, in a bunker, etc. He will also be able to freely engage in combat in pure dark with hundreds/thousands of his comrades knowing EXACTLY where each and every one is at as they advance into China or where ever it is that pisses us off next. It is true, it is now. Welcome to the 21st century.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:48AM (#263381)
    How in the fucking HELL is this offtopic?

    Didn't you fucking moderators see Taco's stupid fucking geek story about his Borg Box he wants to build?

    You stupid sons of bitches. Holy fucking shit I wanna kill you God damned geeks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @01:00PM (#263382)
    Actaully, the mvis display rasters about a 120 degree fov, as opposed to the 30 or so being deployed in the micro-lcd type systems. Just as in those systems, when you look down to the left, you scan accross the 120 degree segment, to view image. In literal terms, the projection is occuring accross the back of your eye. As the eye executes sacads, the fovea effectively travels through the domain... There is interesting work attempting to track the fovea, and rastering higher resolution data to just that area in the display... this has been attempted for flight simulation systems, and for video conferencing to optomize bandwidth. The microvision system may represent a unique opportunity to apply the same principle to much greater advantage...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:27AM (#263383)
    When you have a microLCD in your glasses, you're simulating a larger screen at a greater distance. If you want to look at the top left corner of the screen, you move your eye to look at the top left corner. If you want to look at text inthe center, you look to the center.

    If you have something scanning directly on to your retina, and you move your retina (to look at part of the image that's not immediately in the center of view) doe the entire image move with it? On what is the scanner mounted? Does it know where your eye is looking, and update the field of view accordingly?

    In short, an 800x600 resolution is pretty meaningless because all the image that's being projected outside of the fovea (very center, detail-oriented part of the retina) can't be attended to at the level of resolution the image provides.

    The article gives no info, but I'd like to know how the image updates in response to eye saccades from place to place, and/or head movements.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:58AM (#263384)
    I remember seeing a prototype retinal scanning display that Tom Furness and his team had developed at the Virtual Cockpit project for the air force in Dayton. This was almost 10 years ago when he packed up the project and moved it to the University of Washington's Human Interface Technology lab [washington.edu] in Seattle. At the time it was bulky but it looked real and ready for refinement. Yet it is still under development and not really here [washington.edu]-- not even for the military, who tend to be early adopters of this kind of tech when it's expensive and clunky. So how soon will this *realistically* take to appear in the real world?

    (Anybody remember the IBM commercial where the guy on the park bench is jerking around like some kind of Tourette's sufferer -- until they zoom in and we see he's using a wearable to day trade? It's already getting hard to tell the crazy people from the people who are just using cell phones with headsets. How much worse is it going to get with things like this?)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:05AM (#263385)
    Once this thing hits the consumer market, how long do you think it'll be before we start living with constant advertising in the corner of our FOV. Ugh...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:24AM (#263386)
    Actually, you're eye does have three different color receptors. Namely red, green, and blue (actually, cyan, magenta, and yellow, which are the subtractive compliments). That is the reason we use RGB screens. For example, red and green light together trick our eye into perceiving the same color as yellow light, even though the wavelength of yellow light cannot be created through any combination of red and green light (physically). RGB screens are a direct result of the biology of our eyes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:44AM (#263387)
    Gods, I hope they don't do that. Can you imagine the sticky ads possible when they know just where you're looking? It'd get really annoying if the image followed my vision in space instead of staying put. Besides that, the eye actually introduces a continuous jittering in order to compensate for the human visual system's tendency to ignore static retinal images. Oh gods! the fnords! THAT's what they are.
  • That's a little more overboard than what I was thinking. I was thinking if it had head tracking, you could take someone to a building site, set the alignment correctly, and then project an image of the to be built building onto their eye and leave the rest of the image transparent. That way, they could (with a notebook computer running it) walk around the whole site and see what the building would look like for "real" - much better than architecture renderings.

    Or the other killer app is that no one can see that you're looking at porn all day :)
  • Only the cones are receptive to color. The rods are only receptive to brightness and dimness.

    Correct. This was a copy-paste error of mine. The specifics are outlines on this page [napier.ac.uk], in the "PHOTOPIGMENTS" section.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • by MouseR (3264) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:53AM (#263390) Homepage
    unlike a CRT's phosphors, our retinas do not have separate 'pixels' for red, green, and blue

    Actually, we do. I dont remember the details, but some of our retina's cones and rods capture only specific colors. Color blind or people are people with disorders of such specific cones and rods, when it's not due to brain issues.

    I'm partly color blind, as I have difficulty seeing yellow.

    When our retina differs from CRTs, however, is resolution, of course.

    One good place I found for info on this is this place [napier.ac.uk], and for info specif to color vision, this sub-section [napier.ac.uk] is handy.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • by Teman Clark-Lindh (3587) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:53AM (#263391) Homepage
    I saw a prototype of this system many years ago at the University of Washington HIT lab. Red mono only, and took a table, but it looked pretty good. I'm realling looking forward to consumer color models... maybe in another 10 years. Getting this up and running is just one of many steps towards becoming a gargoyle. :)
  • Live news feeds for all. Automatic insertion of commercials based on physical location, biometric state and recorded user preferences.
  • by coreman (8656) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:32AM (#263393) Homepage
    I just keep remembering the Star Trek episode with the retinal image game plugged into the pleasure centers of the brain. Of course that required Wesley Crusher to solve, so we'd all be DOOMed!
  • I suspect that this won't need eyeball tracking. The image is being projected onto your retina. You move your eyeball to look off to the side. Image is now projected onto a different section of your retina.

    The net effect should be roughly equivalent to if the image was projected onto a pair of glasses: It remains stationary if you just move your eyes, but moves along with your head.

  • Since a host is naturally required for human reproduction, then the process of reproduction creates a natural right to the host.
    That is a non sequitur. That's like arguing that because sex is required for natural reproduction, that I have a natural right to have sex with any women that I please.
  • No, because it's not your rights that we're talking about. We're talking about that natural rights of the fetus as a human being.
    The logic, or rather lack thereof, is the same though.

    Since a host is naturally required for human reproduction, then the process of reproduction creates a natural right to the host.
    What you are in essense saying is that because X (naturally) depends on Y to reach point A, that X has a natural right to Y. That simply does not follow, mere dependency does not equate with right. The same can be said for sperm. Do my sperm of a natural right to a fertile women? Is a women necessarily immoral for denying any one of my sperm this right? Of course not. The logic is simply flawed.

    No matter what your beliefs or your other arguments are, this one simply does not stand.
  • Well I know some of the engineers and a physicist at the Bothell outfit, last I heard (as I recall), they're using laser diodes since brightness is an issue with LEDs. They modulate the three diodes, aim them at a single fiber, then direct that at some kind of scanning mirror...That said, I really don't have any more details to give you, it's been awhile since I last heard. I've heard a number of people say first hand that the technology works well, but at least one mentioned some disorientation. It's pretty promising stuff.
  • No new 'technological innovations' should be foisted onto the general public until they have been proved safe by years (decades, if necessary) of scientific study.
    That's fine and good to say, but years or a decade of additional waiting would economically un-feasible for the vast majority of the companies (not to mention products) out there. This is part of the reason why drug companies have to charge so much money and part of the reason why small companies are so rare and getting rarer in biotechnology; it takes about 10 years on average to bring a product to market. This drastically increases the risks and the costs of doing business, not to mention requiring a very large company, since very few startups can afford those kind of cash outlays. Now I'm not saying we should lower the testing standards for drugs, but if we put these same kinds of brakes in place on anything that runs across a consumers hand, we would absolutely put a brake on technological advancement.

    Furthermore, I believe that when science can be reasonably certain that the risks are small, that individuals should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they want to take that risk. I would. Who are you to tell me that I can't use this product because it hasn't been proven safe (although they have done a studies already) in your opinion? Hell, we haven't "proven" Quake safe yet, it might cause convulsions or something, or cause us all to go postal, we haven't waited a decade yet... Is this the kind of world you want to live in?
  • It's already getting hard to tell the crazy people from the people who are just using cell phones with headsets. How much worse is it going to get with things like this?

    It's hard to tell the difference between "crazy people" and people who are using cell phones with headsets because there isn't much difference.

  • Yeah all that technology works fine until someone drops EMP bombs over the battlefield or arms mobile anti-personelle units with masers to zap the fuck out of your electronics. Half of this technology is useless against a high tech opponent anyways. Electronics are very susceptible to fucking up and being fucked with and an old axiom with anything is more complexity leads to a higher potential of failure. Adding a bunch of electronic toys to a soldier doesn't make him a better soldier. As proved so many times, technology is not a military cure-all. If you invade me with a bunch of electronic soldiers I'll EMP bomb your ass and fill the air with radioactive chaff; once your units are cut off I'll use plain old napalm to wipe them up.
  • by rw2 (17419) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:06AM (#263401) Homepage
    Combine this with stereoscopic imagers and eye tracking. Now the box can map in a virtual environment everything you are seeing in 3d. The next steps are obvious. My favorite is new 'skins' for the things (read, people) around you. Imagine if you could make your boss look like Devin during those hard to stay awake during meetings about the marketing strategy for the new site.

    Add wireless networking and instead of having to look for a band on someones sleeve during a firefight at the local paintball field your box could show everyone who isn't on your team (cause remember it knows where everyone *on* your team is) with their entire body covered in a big bulls eye (hmmm, have to make it smart enough to not do that for the ref I suppose).

    --
    Poliglut [poliglut.com]

  • Sorry didn't mean to post anon...
    The rocking thingie... I saw something about that on Tomorrows World (BBC TV) a few months ago.

    A pair of goggles, with electromagnets near the ear around the temple and behind the ear. When the magnets were turned on, it would fool the ear into thinking that you were leaning so the body would automaticaly compensate. this only worked with a full HUD because if the eye can see the horison it overrides the ear.

    Here's the link to the story http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/tw/items/000126_virtu almotion.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
  • by Max von H. (19283) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:56AM (#263403) Homepage
    A couple of weeks ago, I saw a documentary showing this technology being used by surgeons, and was very impressed. The main advantage of the system is being able to display a *live* 3D model of the operated organ (or any other data), allowing the surgeon to remain concentrated on his 'target' rather than having to look at some monitor, hence reducing the risk of a bad manipulation.

    When performing microsurgery, surgeons wear magnifying glasses, so don't worry about your tiny blood vessels or nerves. Anyway, I don't think any serious surgeon would use this technology if it weren't adapted to their needs, and these people are demanding when it comes to new hardware. The top surgeons who were testing the equipment seemed to be very happy about it!

    .max
  • or there will be "Peace Love and Linux" ads on every sidewalk we look at. I have to imagine what others would think when I start screaming about all the penguins everywhere.
  • by mackman (19286) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:11AM (#263405)
    But we already do, although I'm getting used to the little Jiffy Lube ad they stick in the corner of my windshield and the "Ray Ban" on the edge of my sunglasses. I can just imagine what would happen if contact lens manufacturers caught on. The thermal ink would "Thank You For Choosing Acuvue" before fading away when the lenses reach body temp.
  • Combine this with some motion tracking hardware and when you're sleeping with your ugly girlfriend, she'll LOOK like Latetia Casta or Cindy Crawford (yes, or even Natalie Portman...)

    -Chris
    ...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...
  • There's a world of difference between throwing strange molecules into your bloodstream and banging on neurotransmitters, and projecting photons into your eye. You have probably had at least six or seven photons projected into your eye TODAY! Some weird people claim to be bombarded by billions and billions and billions of photons day in and day out, and they seem to be able to live almost normal lives.

    It's a photon, man...nothing scary here...
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Thursday April 26, 2001 @07:25PM (#263408) Homepage
    How could an LED possibly work? You need to get a fine point of light projected on a spot 1-2" away. Anything other than a coherent light beam would just spread out and be useless.
  • Was this a class 2 or class 3 laser? One burns your eye very quickly, the other takes forever. If they did that with a Class 2 laser, I wouldn't be at all surprised because Class 3 lasers are much stronger.
  • by Snarfvs Maximvs (28022) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:14AM (#263410)
    Um, just replace "www" with "channel" and you don't have to reg.
  • Actualy our eyes have 4 types of light receptors. the 'cones' come in three types red, green, and blue. The 'rods' are just for detecting shades of grey. Dogs and cats only have the rods, but a lot more. Thats why we know they only see in black and white, its also why they can see better in the dark.

    What I would want is a object recognizer (edge detector) so I could find my way to the bathroom at night without killing my shins.

  • I'm partly color blind, as I have difficulty seeing yellow.

    Hey, I think my whole town has this problem. At least they all drive as though the traffic lights are colored red,<nothing>,green.

  • Wern't we all saying that RIAA woulden't be happy until they could beam the music right into our ears ... ? now the MPAA is all happy ;)

  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:36AM (#263414)
    all the people complaining that quake blinded them

    With this technology, the bluenoses will have just a bit more credibility with the scare line, "You'll go blind from looking at porn!"
    /.

  • by caffeineboy (44704) <.skidmore.22. .at. .osu.edu.> on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:02AM (#263415)
    is here [mvis.com]

    Wouldn't want to try this thing first generation though - anyone seen the screen burn on 80's terminal monitors... Think about that on your eyeball...
  • by MustardMan (52102) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:04AM (#263416)
    I am a wearable computing enthusiast, just won a new CPU unit off of ebay for hacking, as a matter of fact, and let me tell you, none of us is holding our breath waiting for this tech. With new display tech being available at less than 1000 dollars, it's actually becoming feasable to make an HMD with vga resolution. The Cy-visor, for example, can do 800x600 and is fairly easy to get on ebay brand new for about a grand
  • ... a *long* time ago. I think it was in the EE Times, circa 1990.

    The system described at the time wasn't using any lasers, since there's just no need to use coherent light to keep a source collimated over a one inch distance.

    I remember that the hard part was keeping it in focus as the user moved his eyes, since the distance light traveled through the cornea varies with the position of the eye.

    So, is it the traditional Five Years Off?

    -jcr
  • "That's not good enough, I'm afraid. I want hard scientific facts, not ill-informed opinions."

    And you read Slashdot?

  • I thought U of I invented a solid state blue laser that's being used right now in CD players?
  • well, if you had read the article, you would know that it takes standard inputs, so if you have $10k sitting around, you'll be able to play quake/watch pr0n/etc on it just as well as anything else.

    And since it's a wearable, the term 'implant' is hardly appropriate.

    //Phizzy
  • You guys thought that the id number stored in the cue cat and the pentium III chips were bad...

    Just wait until this device is a two way street and your user-id is a retinal scan. You just can't fake that one without reverse engineering the device itself. Oh wait. That's illegal and wrong.

    User 45235334 likes to download music on his home computer and lives in NYC... lets put a MTV TRL banner ad in the middle of their field of view.

    -pos

    The truth is more important than the facts.
  • by cfish (61161) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:49PM (#263423)
    The manager at Microvision came to where I worked last summer to do a deomostration. Our company was investigating wearable computers for some time critical missions. The estimation is, if the engineerers can save 10 minutes per job with the wearable computer, then in 10 jobs we will get our money's worth.

    The thing wasn't too big as compare to a Xybernaut.(Which I played with for a while as shown here. [purdue.edu] Please show this to your female friends and see if I can impress any of them. I thought it was more impressive than a Corvette, but so far I have no luck.)

    It only displays in red because the other types of colored laser needs humongous sized equipment. And yes, this thing does shoot a laser in the eyes and when we questioned the safty thier manager told me they can show a great deal of proof of saftely machanism. If you have ever wondered about how it was possible to shoot laser precisely into your retina, well, they actually use an array of rays, not just one set.

    I have actually used the demo retina display for about 15 minutes. It works great under any type of light surroundings and image was razor sharp. They grey scale also worked like wonders.

    Microvision claimed last summer that they will acheive 600x800 resolution in production, while they showed us the 640x480 model. Frankly it was good enough. But that is not the most important thing. What really seperates the retina display from LCD based display like what's used in Sony Glasstron and Xybernaut and other dozens of displays at last years' wearable computing expo is that retina display is the only method that TRUELY display information as a completely transparent display, so our engineerers can actually see what they are doing while reading information at the same time. How? The displayed image is actually focused on something like 3 feet (I forgot the exact number, and whether or not it is adjustable.) in front of you, so by changing your eye's focus point, You can swtich between the real world background and the retina display.

    So how much was the damage? well I think they were saying that their projected price was something short of 20k. Makes your $500 glasstron looks like a gameboy's toy which it is. I personally would definitely throw in that money if I had it :)
  • by ZahrGnosis (66741) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:55AM (#263424) Homepage
    And over in the Science Slashbox, we have this article [slashdot.org] about new fingerprint ID hardware.

    It still amazes me what makes it to the top page and what doesn't. These articles should be together.

  • by jesser (77961) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:56AM (#263426) Homepage Journal
    Acutally, I liked the idea Neal Stephenson used in Snow Crash: use the laser to rear-project onto translucent goggles the user's wearing. The indirection would keep the user safer from a system malfunction.

    Yes, but will it keep me safe from bitmap viruses?
  • by jesser (77961) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:05AM (#263427) Homepage Journal
    Combined with face-recognition software, this technology might be a great way to work around face blindness [choisser.com]. My life would be a lot easier if people's names would hover over their heads :)
  • by jesser (77961) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:13AM (#263428) Homepage Journal
    Otherwise people around you will know that you've been surfing porn by the way you're frantically swatting the air in front of you.
  • Please place remaining eye here.
    |
    v

  • Thalidomide was perfectly safe, no? What possible side-effects could a drug to counteract the effects of motion-sickness have?
    Just about any kind of biological harm imaginable. People knew, even back then, that you can never know for sure if a drug is perfectly safe. They've gotten more rigorous about testing drugs, but still, everytime you take a new drug, you run the risk that it has some horrible side effect that nobody thought to check for, or that was simply too rare to show up before they started dosing the general population with the stuff. Drugs are hard to predict, because you are typically exposing your entire body to it, and all a drug needs to do to produce a harmful side effect is stick to the wrong molecule in your body--and there are a *lot* of molecules in your body. Fortunately, light is much simpler. For one thing, you are only exposing one small part of your body to it--and that is a part that is *designed* to deal with light. Light is very simple; no complex molecular structure like a drug, just photons. The hazards of light are well understood. The major one is intensity, and that can be easily dealt with simply by designing a component that is incapable of putting out enough power to do damage. Might as well worry that your TV is suddenly going to get real bright and burn out your eyes. The only other real concern is seizures from the flicker, and that's nothing new--if it makes you seize, don't look at it.
  • It sounds like a great way to watch TV or read news headlines on the bus if you ask me, but the article discusses some more, um, useful applications.

    Companies need to realize there's nothing more "useful" then what people want something for. Scientific and military applications are fine, but if they want to sell, they'll have implant TV, porn, and high level gaming. Government contracts are nice, but 90% of geeks using your technology to play Quake is even better.

    The Good Reverend
    I'm different, just like everybody else. [michris.com]
  • by Noer (85363) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:02AM (#263433)
    I wouldn't be worried about the safety, as long as there's no chance of the intensity of the laser increasing suddenly. Interestingly, I'm wondering if it really is a laser - the article never states that it is a laser, except by implication in the sentence,

    "At first glance, pointing a laser directly into your eyeball seems to fall somewhere between the risky and the downright foolhardy. "

    but it may just be a narrow, projected beam of light, not lased light. I'd be curious to find out more about that. After all, if it's a laser, and you want a color display, you'll need THREE lasers, for each of the primary colors, scanning along side each other (unlike a CRT's phosphors, our retinas do not have separate 'pixels' for red, green, and blue).

  • by Sc00ter (99550) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:19AM (#263435) Homepage
    They did a study and you have to look right into one of those lazer pointers for 10mins before you suffer any eye damage. They took people that were going to loose their eye due to cancer and had them do the tests.

    Lower level shouldn't do much, if any damage, after all you're just projecting an extreamly short distance, not across a board room.


    --

  • But...

    Because the image is being projected onto the back of your eye, would not looking to the left (looking from above: eyeball rotating counter-clockwise) create an image in the wrong direction?

    No wait. I get it now. I was backward. Interesting that the image is being produced with lasers... I wonder why LEDs or something less exotic isn't being used.

  • The p0rn industry is going to go wild. I can just see it: For $30 a month you can see everyone naked. Or how about, have playmate for $10/hour. some people are going to have serious retinal damage. Just some thoughts . . .

    Arturo

  • by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:53AM (#263438)
    Are you a soccer mom?
    Are you not content with distracting yourself from driving your Land Yacht with a plain old cellphone?
    Do you hate how you have to miss the current episode of "Days of Our Lives" when you go to pick up little Jimmy from kindergarten?

    Fear not! There is a solution to your problems - A retinal display!

    ...

    ...

    God help us all. The thing is, you KNOW there's going to be people who will do just that.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • I feel like that whenever I see someone post a message in all bold.
  • by nlaporte (116203) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:11AM (#263440)
    I've actually had the opportunity to use one of these, albeit a tabletop version in testing. It was interesting, especially becaus they hadn't yet worked out the color, and it was just red. It was really cool, though, because you could see right through the picture, but the picture was good, too. I coulld easily see myself using one in the future, if they got the color and portability worked out. One other thing I remember was that it was very sensitive to motion, that is, if you moved slightly, the image would disappear. That would need to be solved too, in order to make the device usable.

  • by BaronM (122102) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:55AM (#263442)
    I wonder if these are sophisticated enough to track your eyeball so that the image can slew properly if you move your eyeballs without moving you head (which would defeat head tracking). I know I've ready about eyeball tracking [lctinc.com] systems uses for targeting, mouse replacement, etc; combined with hi resolution retinal scanning, truly immersive VR might be only a few (10 - 15) years off.

    I'd say sooner, but I imagine it will be a while before your average consumer can afford to own a few pair.

  • by oman_ (147713) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:16AM (#263449) Homepage
    I just hope I don't have old packman mazes burned into my retina when I'm 80.

  • by eyeyam (149521) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:00AM (#263451)
    ...from all the people complaining that quake blinded them and thus rendered them unable to pursue gainful employment.

    Then follows the creation of a gaming industry centered around braille.... quake3 for the blind!

  • The story does go on to say that it's monochromatic; specifically, red.

    John

  • Where's the fun in compiling strict, when you can just let the casts fall where they may? Anyway, if you get really deep into it, p is just a pointer. Try compiling with strict off. I'm using Visual C++ 6.0 at level 3.

    Hmm. Just testing, and I'm not getting gcc to work (even with -Wno-error) unless the pointers are cast (as in the previous post.) The C language reference does say that pointer subtraction is LEGAL, but not guaranteed to be meaningful except for members of the same array. That means that I may not be guaranteed to get 4 bytes of difference, but it should compile and while I should be able to get some number of bytes difference from it, there's no guarantee that I get the right number. Oh, well, cest la C.

    WARNING -- SPOILER: I'm taking advantage of the fact that I want four characters output, and that longs are four bytes. Using the array gives me two longs that will be next to each other. I decrement the char pointer p (which points to the second long) until it equals the first. This happens in the while condition (which could be written as while((p--)-k){...}, if I wanted to make it longer, which I don't. Operator precedence lets the compiler grok what I mean.

    John

  • by plover (150551) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:50AM (#263454) Homepage Journal
    ...please insert retinas in backup display slot provided.

    Acutally, I liked the idea Neal Stephenson used in Snow Crash: use the laser to rear-project onto translucent goggles the user's wearing. The indirection would keep the user safer from a system malfunction.

    John

  • by seanmeister (156224) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:50PM (#263455) Homepage
    Man, would that be cool or WHAT? Everyone would look like desktop icons! Just don't let MS do the software for it - wouldn't want the wallpaper color showing up behind their names ;)

    --
  • by jordanda (160179) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @03:58PM (#263460) Homepage
    I work on that exact thing at the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington. Right now I'm doing some work to identify doorways and staircases for the purpose of superimposing over the users sight. The VRD is great for this because it does not block normal sight. Also, since the light enters the eye over a small portion of the lens, people with lens damage and such can still view the image. I've seen some earlier posts that suggest than the VRD is/will be way to expencive. Let me tell you that it is not. The complexity of the device is much lower than a CRT or LCD screen. It takes us about two days and $15 dollars worth of readily available parts to construct one by hand. (Minus the computer to drive it of course.) I suspect a good and near invisible VRD will be available in 4 years for less than $100. As far as the shooting lasers in to peoples eyes, it is not as bad as you think. People commonly associate lasers with high power. Our lasers can't cast a visible spot on a white piece of paper. Getting human subject approval is not picnic though :-). -Jordan Andersen jordan@hitl.washington.edu
  • by jordanda (160179) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @04:16PM (#263461) Homepage
    I never realized how annoying /. is . I'm the only poster here who knows about this stuff and I'm way at the bottom...

    I work on that exact thing at the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington. Right now I'm doing some work to identify doorways and staircases for the purpose of superimposing over the users sight. The VRD is great for this because it does not block normal sight Also, since the light enters the eye over a small portion of the lens, people with lens damage and such can still view the image.

    I've seen some earlier posts that suggest than the VRD is/will be way to expencive. Let me tell you that it is not. The complexity of the device is much lower than a CRT or LCD screen. It takes us about two days and $15 dollars worth of readily available parts to construct one by hand. (Minus the computer to drive it of course.) I suspect a good and near invisible VRD will be available in 4 years for less than $100.

    As far as the shooting lasers in to peoples eyes, it is not as bad as you think. People commonly associate lasers with high power. Our lasers can't cast a visible spot on a white piece of paper.Getting human subject approval is not picnic though :-).

    -Jordan Andersen
    jordan@hitl.washington.edu
  • Thalidomide was perfectly safe, no? What possible side-effects could a drug to counteract the effects of motion-sickness have?

    Because of irresponsible thinking like that, I can't type like a normal person. No new 'technological innovations' should be foisted onto the general public until they have been proved safe by years (decades, if necessary) of scientific study.

    Sure, it's only light; only lasers. What happens when the first wave of users start going blind in 10 years? Are you just going to say, "Oh, we're sorry. We never imagined something like this could have happened."?

    That's not good enough, I'm afraid. I want hard scientific facts, not ill-informed opinions.

  • See my reply here [slashdot.org].

    In a nutshell: they will need sensors to track the motion of your eyeball (otherwise, how will they keep the image projected in the right place?). The type of sensors that are needed are cheap and have been in use for decades.

    Basically, if you want to be able to project the image correctly, you are going to need light sensors, and these light sensors, will, obviously, measure the light bouncing off your eye. You don't have to go far from there to map the retina.

  • by Cyclopedian (163375) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:41AM (#263466) Journal
    It's good to see technology like this improving. I had an idea of a specific application for a tech like this back in high school.

    Basically, if you put this with a real-time speech recognition system that was a 1000x better, you effectively have created a wearable "real-time closed-caption" display for deaf people. They would use it in the everyday world whenever hearing people spoke to them, so that they know what a person said. I'm deaf myself and I would love to see something like this in sunglasses form.

    Another application for the above product would be as a language translator for the tourist going abroad in other countries. The system would translate any foreign language into the wearer's native language and display it. Great way to learn the French language. =)

    -Cyc

  • by Sawbones (176430) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:56AM (#263468)
    By the time I was poking around Fluke Hall at the UW the all red monochrome version had shrunk to the size of a small briefcase and was quite easy to use. They were working on a color version but it was still benchmount. I believe they were having trouble shrinking the blue laser. Pretty slick tech though :)
  • by Astin (177479) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:36AM (#263469)

    Steve Mann [eyetap.org] has been using a system like this for years with his wearable computer systems. It creates what he's termed "mediated reality", which is just a cute term to describe the overlay of data onto reality as opposed to full virtual reality. It's pretty impressive, and fairly intimidating at first when you think about shining a laser directly into your eye.

    The other form of mediated reality (and more commonly used as he only has a couple laser eyetaps) is similar to the standard LCD concept. Except, instead of displaying the data on an LCD screen that blocks out reality, the data is overlayed on a image of reality. The light rays that are reflected on the eye are colinear with what would normally be seen, so minimal distortion occurs.

    It's pretty cool to see this sort of thing coming to market.

  • it's a worthwhile concern, and you're not funny.

    No, it's a stupid concern. Do you think they're using a 100 watt laser or something? To use your analogy, if a headphone company asked you try out some revolutionary new headphones, would the first thought that would come to your mind be "Who was the brave soul who first agreed to that insanity?" Do you really think that there would have been some great risk of the first person to try them having their ears blown out?


    --

  • Who was the brave soul who first agreed to that insanity?

    Oh my God! They're shining light into people's eyes? What are they, INSANE???


    --

  • I call my invention a "laser"

    =P

    e.
  • by LordKariya (195696) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:01AM (#263478)
    Now all you need is to strap Taco's Borg Box onto the helmet, and presto, instant self-entertainment system. Might be a little heavy...
  • This is a good way for me to get my dog to let himself in and out of the house.

    Don't laugh... it would work! There's not too much difference between our eyes and my dog's eyes.

  • I think that the term "retinal scanning" is kind of a misnomer. The lasers would just project onto your retina; there would be no way to identify who you are (assuming the hardware did not have to be customized for each user). To identify, one would have to as detector hardware, which is more complicated (and apparent to anyone who buys it) than a few lines of code
  • Whis means I could play play Quake all day at work, and as long as I wasn't moving unconciously with each shot, my boss would never know.

    I like it. Although I have reservations about pointing a laser (any laser) at my retina, for any extended period of time.
    ---
  • by bmongar (230600) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:45AM (#263485)
    Or even 4 color receptors if you are a tetrachrome and have the odd bluegreen receptor.
  • This reminds me of a discussion I heard on talk radio (Dr. Dean Edel) one night. He was talking about how "whoever it was" determined how high of intensity and for how long it takes to do damage to the retina. Apparently, they used patients who had been diagnosed with eye cancer and were scheduled to have one of their eyes removed. It gave them the perfect opportunity to blast an eye and then take it out to have a look.

    Pretty creepy stuff.

  • I can't find it now for some reason, but about a year ago a saw a very cool piece of concept art at Microvision's site: A pair of sunglasses with a small laser mounted near one ear, which beamed the laser onto your retina by way of a tiny reflective spot on the inside of the glasses.

    I wonder how long till that implementation of this technology is available in the stores? (I want to hope 5-10 years, but 15 seems more realistic.)
  • by SalTerre (240065) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:24AM (#263491) Journal
    I actually met Dr. Tom Furness, one of the gentleman who pioneered much of the work in this area at a Medicine Meets Virtual Reality seminar in California. His speeches were fascinating and basically summed up the points of the article, but one story really grabbed my attention.

    After their first 'virtual retina display' was prototyped, they had visitors in their lab looking at the device. One gentleman placed his right eye onto the scanner and went through the demonstration. When he was asked if he was thoroughly impressed with the demonstration, he replied, "Yes, but not with the demonstration itself, but rather the fact that I saw the demonstration with my blind eye."

    The man only had the ability to use 5-10% of his optic nerves in his right eye. So he was partially blind but amazing nonetheless.

    Here are other articles on the subject: an older zdnet story [zdnet.com] and '98 discover technology award [discover.com]

    -sal terre

  • by Mondrames (242558) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:12AM (#263492)
    I actually checked these guys out a little over a year ago. Their stockholder package covered most of the stuff in the article, but they also had a section on Military development. Basically they were using this as a HUD for the Airforce, and potentially the whole field of view for the pilot. That way they could enclose the cockpit with stealth tech and feed the image to the headset. But they said the device was the size of football helmet and wasn't fast enough for that yet...
  • by Bonker (243350) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:31AM (#263493)
    That hospital is focusing on clinical applications, like superimposing information about a patient, including vital signs and medical images, onto a surgeon's field of view.

    Boy howdy... From what I know, nerve fibers were about the same thickness as human hair, right? Especially in tight places like the hands. It also seems like there are any number of delicate blood vessles, nerve tissues, tendons, etc, that would be about the same size as an 800x600 pixel. I don't know about you, but I would much rather my doctor get a possibly distracting earful of my vital signs if my chest is hanging open than have them superimposed over the top of my delicate internals.
  • It sounds like the ultimate way to read Slashdot at work!

    Yeah, it's $10K now, but I'm betting that in 5 years or so they'll be able to put it under the brim of a baseball cap for $200. Add a wireless connection to a computer on your belt, and a pointing device, and speech-to-text, and you've got the wearable dream machine...

    OK,
    - B
    --

  • by Garg0y1e (249701) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @12:42PM (#263497)
    Microvision just came out with a new full color display [prnewswire.com]. They are using light sources [mvis.com]
    rather than lasers to achieve full color.
  • by Shoten (260439) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @10:41AM (#263498)
    I tried one of these out late last year when Microvision was at the AUSA convention. I wouldn't say that it doesn't interfere with your vision, however; you have a small screen in front of your eye, which is translucent but colored as well. It's a very far cry from just having something appear in your vision as an augmentation to normal sight.

    Also, due to the fact that a small blue laser for this application has yet to be invented (and for that matter, ANY blue laser with a long lifespan that can be used for this application), color displays are quite a long way off. They have the red and green, but blue is a major problem.
  • by Gruneun (261463) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @11:16AM (#263500)
    "Doing that will make you go blind."

    Now it may be true.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday April 26, 2001 @09:46AM (#263501) Journal
    And let me point this laser at your retina.

    Who was the brave soul who first agreed to that insanity?

    Dancin Santa
  • by Pooua (265915) on Thursday April 26, 2001 @06:20PM (#263502) Homepage
    (Anybody remember the IBM commercial where the guy on the park bench is jerking around like some kind of Tourette's sufferer -- until they zoom in and we see he's using a wearable to day trade? It's already getting hard to tell the crazy people from the people who are just using cell phones with headsets. How much worse is it going to get with things like this?)

    Any technology that is sufficiently advanced will be indistinguishable from insanity.

  • This probably reminds you of the project from UoW's HITL because it *is* the project from UoW's HITL. It'd be nice if Microvision bothered to mention that. Oh well, at least the Dev team's page at UoW [washington.edu] mentions that Microvision are the ones developing commercial applications for it. Also has an actual picture of the prototype, which isn't nearly as high-tech as the Microvision site [mvis.com] would lead you to believe.
  • Another application for the above product would be as a language translator for the tourist going abroad in other countries.

    Yeah, but who want's to hear everyone speaking like babblefish?

    BTW: How do you do abroad in this country?

  • I remember a few years back some woman sued a supermarket chain claiming that the barcode scanners blinded her. Anyone remember this or have more info? I assume she was unsuccessful since now they let everyone scan groceries. OTH they also let everyone pump their own gas and that's certainly not completely safe.
    Never mind I'll just discuss this amongst myself.
  • For that matter, you could have entirely imaginary landscapes and targets when you're playing paintball. Add subtle bone-conduction headphones and you can walk around talking with an imaginary friend that you can see and hear and, with some body position sensors, get in fistfights with. If you thought Tamagotchi was distracting, just wait for these apps!

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