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Displays Technology

Companies To Invade Your Retinas As Soon As Next Year? 245

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the play-with-it-and-you'll-go-blind dept.
Engadget is one of many reporting that Brother and NEC both seem to have retina display technology in the works for release next year. Brother, at least, seems to have a fully functional prototype, while so far NEC is mostly talk. "Naturally, there are a few considerable limitations compared to more traditional displays, but the company's as yet unnamed goggles do promise to beam an 800 x 600 image directly into your retina that'll appear as a 10-centimeter wide image floating about one meter in front of them -- which is certainly no small feat, even if it may not be the most practical one. Slightly less specific, but also working on a retina display of its own is NEC, which apparently hopes to incorporate a microphone into their display and use it as a real-time translation device that would quite literally display subtitles as you talk to someone."
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Companies To Invade Your Retinas As Soon As Next Year?

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  • oblig (Score:4, Funny)

    by Vo1t (1079521) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:09PM (#29877449)
    I for one welcome the retina-porn overlords
    • Re:oblig (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:12PM (#29877491)

      Year 2011: It's now commonplace for the average man to walk around with an erection. Average male IQ drops 40 points.

    • by sofar (317980)

      imagine the subtitles.....!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Imagine the burn-in.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tomhudson (43916)

          No thanks ... you can have my eyeballs when you pry them from my cold dead skull.

          Besides, can you imagine the product liability lawsuits from accidents? "He didn't see where he was going because he was looking at where he was going" will actually parse. That's just fucked up!

    • Naturally, there are a few considerable limitations compared to more traditional displays, but the company's as yet unnamed goggles do promise to beam an 800 x 600 image directly into your retina that'll appear as a 10-centimeter wide image floating about one meter in front of them -- which is certainly no small feat, even if it may not be the most practical one.

      I would've pointed out that this is currently vaporware.
      In other words: THE GOGGLES! THEY DO NOTHING!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:09PM (#29877455)

    ...a real-time translation device that would quite literally display subtitles as you talk to someone.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to display subtitles as someone talks to you?

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:21PM (#29877625) Homepage

      Wouldn't it make more sense to display subtitles as someone talks to you?

      Indeed it would. And even better, it could then make that scene from Austin Powers [youtube.com] an every-day reality. I love technology!

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:24PM (#29877665)

      Wouldn't it make more sense to display subtitles as someone talks to you?

      I can't speak for others, but I've had enough foot-in-mouth moments that maybe seeing what I currently am saying might help on occasion.

      And a 2 second lead time would be even better.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:26PM (#29877689)

      ...a real-time translation device that would quite literally display subtitles as you talk to someone.

      Wouldn't it make more sense to display subtitles as someone talks to you?

      That depends. It could have a heuristics system to ensure that the next word coming out of your mouth doesn't get you in trouble:

      Wife: How do these pants make my butt look?
      Husband: It makes your butt look extremely HALT, FULL STOP. EXCEPTION ERROR. ALTERNATE VALUE very small, dear.

      Boss: So, Peter, what do you think about my proposal for extended work hours with no overtime?
      Peter: I think you are a fu-HALT, FULL STOP. EXCEPTION ERROR. ALTERNATE VALUE -n person and a brilliant leader!

      Son: Hey dad, what's an erection?
      Dad: Well, you see, it's when a man HALT, FULL STOP. EXCEPTION ERROR. ALTERNATE VALUE asks your mother.

      Oh the applications.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        Peter: I think you are a fu-HALT, FULL STOP. EXCEPTION ERROR. ALTERNATE VALUE -n person and a brilliant leader!

        You call that getting out of trouble? Do you really not see the long-term effects of this behavior?? I call that "trouble". And you fully deserve being treated that way, for acting like this.
        Protip: If you don't learn to say "NO", you'll end up as a slave. But hey, it's nothing bad for me. In fact it strengthens me if I can exploit you. So please, keep on doing it!

        Son: Hey dad, what's an erection?

        And what's your problem with that one? Tell him, for god's sake. We're not in the dark ages anymore!

  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:11PM (#29877471) Homepage Journal

    I think "Liberation" would be a better word. The companies will enter the eyeball (in small numbers), and will be cheered by all the cells... at first. But then they'll get caught up in the bitter rivalries, with renegade Rods lobbing bombs at the Cones, who will in turn blame the support cells in the Sclera for fomenting dissent.

    This can only end badly.

  • Obligatory joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:11PM (#29877473) Journal

    Do not look into goggles with remaining eye.

    Seriously, though, does anybody else find the idea of projecting directly on the eye a little disturbing?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      The writers of Star Trek: TNG certainly did. On a related note, there could be Hypnotic [wikipedia.org] applications to such technology.
    • Re:Obligatory joke (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sunderland56 (621843) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:22PM (#29877629)
      Not just projecting onto the retina - projecting directly onto the retina with lasers.

      Many people shy away from laser eye surgery - I can imagine this device will be a bit difficult to market. Imagine the "phosphor burn" effect on your retina.... not pretty. My bet is that this won't appear in the lawsuit-happy USA any day soon.
    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      No.

      How do you think you see?

      That's right, light on the retina.

      What's this?

      That's right, light on the retina - no different.

    • Seriously, though, does anybody else find the idea of projecting directly on the eye a little disturbing?

      Having been hit in the eye with a laser at a light show (flight path was supposed to terminate below where I was, but something went wrong), and lucky to escape without long term injury, I do.

      • Re:Obligatory joke (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chihowa (366380) on Monday October 26, 2009 @07:29PM (#29879015)

        Seriously, though, does anybody else find the idea of projecting directly on the eye a little disturbing?

        Having been hit in the eye with a laser at a light show (flight path was supposed to terminate below where I was, but something went wrong), and lucky to escape without long term injury, I do.

        Having had half my head seared off by an industrial metal-cutting laser, I agree with you. The microwatt lasers that these systems use must be identical to the ones that they use in laser light shows.

  • by speedlaw (878924) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:14PM (#29877517) Homepage
    I always remember faces, but names are tough. Here I could finally know everyone's name (combined with some facial recognition software).
    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Sure, as long as they don't grow a beard or smile. So as long as you're not interested in men and/or funny, you should be good to go.

    • by funkatron (912521)
      You dont need technology fo that! Just do what everyone else in politics does; use the name Liberal for everyone you cant remember.
  • "Fun" Mods (Score:5, Funny)

    by StaticEngine (135635) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:15PM (#29877539) Homepage

    Replace that low power LED with a super-high-power multi-Watt LED!

    Hilarity ensues!

    (As does screaming, and permanant blindness.)

  • But aren't all images we see the result of light beaming into our retinas?
    • by noundi (1044080)

      But aren't all images we see the result of light beaming into our retinas?

      That... is... kind... of the point...

  • I mean the thing is right in front of one of your eyes. This means the other eye is free to look at the environment. This leaves the brain the arduous task to merge the two images into something useful.

    Also the retina isn't that big. You are practically forced to look just right into the display to see something at all.

    I'm working at a device to make pictures of the retina and it's pretty hard to make good images of the retina. These guys projects something on it that must be sharp enough to be useful.

    • by StaticEngine (135635) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:49PM (#29878035) Homepage

      See, that's the awesome thing. They put a tiny camera on the other side, then project what the camera sees/the device obscures right onto your retina, plus some extra info. It's like the projector isn't even there!

      Sure there are some parallax issues, and one day you forget it's there, go to bed with it on, roll over, and gouge your eye out, but hey, that's the price of progress!

    • I mean the thing is right in front of one of your eyes. This means the other eye is free to look at the environment. This leaves the brain the arduous task to merge the two images into something useful.

      Arduous? Our brain is quite nicely tuned to handle specifically such a task!

      Here's a little experiment for you. Place your finger closely in front of one of your eyes. Does it preclude you from seeing normally? It shouldn't - you'll just see a translucent finger overlayed over unoccluded image from another eye.

      The same thing will happen with the screen. In effect, you get translucency for free - hardware-accelerated, so to speak...

      • by Firehed (942385)

        Doing that for hours on end probably increases eyestrain and fatigue tremendously. I can't say that I've ever been bored enough to try holding my finger in front of my left eye for half a day, but I'd imagine the effects are similar to being in very bright, contrasty, or dark places for extended periods.

    • > I mean the thing is right in front of one of your eyes.

      The next step will be some tricky optics (no, I don't know how it will work) such that the light will be reflected off (or refracted out of) the glasses lenses and into the eye while still allowing you full vision through the lenses.

  • by robvangelder (472838) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:27PM (#29877715)

    This will be awesome for 3d games (first person shooters).
    One image per eye, producing a 3d scene.

    I imagine generation 1 will look weird with all the images being in focus, even though the Z distance varies.
    With a little more work, generation 2 could detect what you are trying to focus on - like those eye test machines do - and produce a more realistic scene - blurry in the background, sharp foreground.

    It would be cool to hit a key and have the scene zoom on what you're looking at.

    • by caseih (160668) on Monday October 26, 2009 @06:01PM (#29878189)

      Having sensors detect eye movement and focus is essential for making 3d goggles. Your brain is constantly moving your eyes in order to get depth information. That and head movement. Regular goggles are very tiring to use because when your eyes move around, the scene does not. This is very confusing for your brain and causes my eyes to really hurt after a while.

      • > Regular goggles are very tiring to use because when your eyes move around,
        > the scene does not. This is very confusing for your brain and causes my eyes
        > to really hurt after a while.

        Then those goggles are poorly designed. They should contain accelerometers and gyros to detect head movement. If the googles fill most of the visual field with image detecting eye movement is unnecessary (it could be used to only show high resolution to the fovea, though).

        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          Umm.. no. I actually own a head mounted display with head tracking.. the simple fact is, scanning across a display that is half an inch in front of your eyes is worthless. In fact, the only way to get immersion from it is to block all the light coming from outside the displays and wait until your eyes into "tunnel vision".

          But that's all that is on the market.

    • like those eye test machines do

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autorefractor [wikipedia.org]

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      There wont be a generation 2. No-one is buying the generation 1 glasses.. so there's no money to develop the generation 2 glasses. Until someone who is sufficiently passionate about this stuff develops it on their own dime and then has enough business smarts to actually get the product to market, we're never going to have the "virtual light" displays. Maybe some funding channel will open up one day and we'll get government development of this technology, but NASA and the military seem to still be blown a

  • Invasion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:27PM (#29877719)

    How is this "invasion" if you need to willingly put on a special pair of goggles that enable it?

    It's sort of like calling someone accepting a gift at Christmas robbery or theft..

  • Imagine this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abbynormal brain (1637419) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:30PM (#29877759)

    Imagine a world with many "blank" surfaces ... dull? Not without your wireless network retina vision (WNRV) - projected advertisement on "billboard surfaces" just around the (metaphorical) corner!

  • 10 cm square at one meter?

    No matter how good the focus is, 800x600 is wasted at that small a visual angle.

  • http://www.vuzix.com/iwear/products_wrap310.html [vuzix.com]

    Available right now for under $250. Also one of the only head mounted augmented reality systems that is commercially available today.

    • This is entirely different (though not entirely new).

    • So with these goggles, two high resolution webcams, and a netbook, I could have an expensive "vision replacement system" which would work less well than nothing at all.

      As Spock would say, "Fascinating."

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        Ya, augmented reality continues to suck, but if no-one bought the Altair we never would have gotten the machine you have on your desktop today.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      Except the bit where the resolution is only 428x240.

      Even their $400 model is only 640x480.(That's the AR version, the one you linked is for watching Ipod video)

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        Yup.. and it's the best head mounted display you can buy for under $2000. If no-one buys these things, they'll never get any better.

  • by Looce (1062620) *

    Who knows what ads they want to burn into our retinas.

    I just hope it won't be an unignorable HeadOn ad [youtube.com], because that is liable to give me unignorable... headaches.

    Now if only I had unignorable audio too, so I could know where I apply the HeadOn...

    • by Looce (1062620) *

      Err, goggles. I posted the parent comment without even reading the summary. (Ha!)

      That's not so bad then. And don't we already have virtual-reality glasses and goggles and other things already? How would this be revolutionary?

    • by argent (18001)

      Thank you, I was previously unaware of this product.

      You can die now. Your life is complete.

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Monday October 26, 2009 @05:35PM (#29877835)

    The Engadget article says "10-centimeter wide image" where as the Register article that Engadget uses at its source says a 10cm^2 object.

    That's quite a difference. If the image displayed is also in 4:3, that makes the Engadget image 7.5 times larger (10x7.5 cms).

  • Given the size of the Prototype shown in TFA, how much heart burn would it be to make the hardware 1600x1200? Basically use 4 units combined into one?
    • by Shados (741919)

      i think in this case the purpose of it is to take -part- of your field of vision to -add- something to it, not to replace it so you can play WoW without a monitor.

      • i think in this case the purpose of it is to take -part- of your field of vision to -add- something to it, not to replace it so you can play WoW without a monitor.

        Ideally, I'd want something that would look like a HUD to me - that is, I want it to cover all of my field of vision, just that most of it would be transparent at any given moment. But with things like floating info labels over objects and such, you really want it to be "full retina", so to speak.

  • The goggles (from NEC), they do nothing?
  • I'm not projecting anything directly on my retinas until there has been at least 5 years of letting large numbers of other people test the safety of doing that on their eyes.

    If it works out it really holds promise for people with color blindness and other vision problems. Not to mention the possibilities for enhanced reality. Talking to some gal while Googling for naked pictures of her and then trying line up the body image with her real face while you're talking.

    No, not distracting at all...what was

    • by wfstanle (1188751)

      "If it works out it really holds promise for people with color blindness and other vision problems."

      It's unlikely that it will fix color blindness because that problem is in the retina itself. In fact, it probably won't fix most eye problems with the possible exception of near/far-sightedness and astigmatism, which are due to the shape of the cornea.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        Wouldn't fix the root problem, but doing something like adding labels like "purple" to objects would be helpful.

  • Naturally, there are a few considerable limitations compared to more traditional displays,

    There's also the problem of me taking a hammer to any system that tries to project something onto my godamned retina. I'm not kidding, Brother/NEC. My hammer, your fucking projector, guaranteed.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      Forgive me if I'm wooshing, but you are looking at a monitor right now?

      If you are, watch out, it is projecting light onto your retina.

  • prohibiting people from operating a vehicle while wearing them.

  • Just one thing to keep in mind: the display, no matter what, won't be any larger than the subtended angle of the display apparatus as viewed by the eye. In other words, if you have a display covering 90 degrees of your field of view, then the apparatus generating that display will have to cover 90 degrees of your field of view.

    Now, that apparatus may be transparent and not interfere with viewing the rest of the world in that 90 degrees, but this doesn't mean that some little bug-like object on a lamppost tw

    • Just one thing to keep in mind: the display, no matter what, won't be any larger than the subtended angle of the display apparatus as viewed by the eye. In other words, if you have a display covering 90 degrees of your field of view, then the apparatus generating that display will have to cover 90 degrees of your field of view.

      In principle at least, that is not true. Your eye is interested in where light appears to diverge from. There does not have to be a source at that place, as long as the light reaching your eye does so as though it were coming from such a source. It's possible to have a ring-shaped source that makes light appear to be diverging from a more remote point source. (The key point is that your retina is not able to tell where light is coming from, but only where it focussed.)

      So one could produce a dough-nut sh

  • what could go wrong?

    I think I'll wait for version 2.1 on this particular tech. First, because I don't want 800x600 on a 10cm screen a meter away. That's not useful to me. I want 1080p visible as a 52" 16x9 screen about 10 feet away. NOW we're talking.

    Aside from that, I think we'll wait and see just how much eye strain these things cause first -- and how well they travel. COOL would be if they'd sit at the hinges of fully functional sunglasses so the display could be a heads-up while you do other thi

  • I'm personally looking forward to being able to beam images into peoples retinas. I can imagine all sorts of delightful pranks.
  • closed captioning for real life
      Nice

  • You know when you look at a pattern really long, you get that burn-in effect.

    Now imagine it, about 10,000 times stronger. Must be "fun"...

  • I don't want to sound too harsh, but they'd better be DAMNED sure to include a screensaver. The last thing you want is to have an undesirable image 'burned-in' (not literally, but I'm pretty confident that overstimulating receptors could lead to degeneration) so that you see it constantly.

    If they do use screensavers, I hope they include:

    1: Lunitic Fringe
    2: Starfield
    3: Flying Toasters

    Honestly, the market potential for a new version of AfterDark is huge!!!1!

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