Sony transforms eyewear into smart augmented reality devices

Sony transforms eyewear into smart augmented reality devices

Technology News |
Sony Corporation has announced an attachable smartglass module featuring OLED technology that enables ordinary glasses to be turned into augmented reality smart devices.
By eeNews Europe


The two-part module features a single lens which comprises a 0.23 inch, 640 x 400 pixel, color OLED micro-display; an attached micro-optical unit projects an image equivalent to the field of view of a 16 inch display two meters away. The 40 gram module includes an ARM Cortex-A7 core and a 400 mAh battery and supports Bluetooth Low Energy along with 802.11b/g/n.

The compact nature and lightweight of the solution has enabled Sony to attach the module to a piece of eyewear. The device is equipped with a high-resolution color OLED microdisplay that claims to bring out the full potential of the display’s high image quality, and a miniaturized control board with arithmetic processing capabilities on par with smartphones that was made possible by high-density packaging technology.

Single-Lens Display Module (experimental)
(Left side of image: Display arm; Right side of image: Secondary arm incorporating the battery, etc.)

By attaching the display module to a pair of fashionable glasses, goggles, sunglasses, or other type of eyewear, allows users to gain access to visual information that adds a level of convenience to their everyday lives. The module also has potential applications in sports or for work, among other areas, displaying helpful information that supports a user in their activity. The module, which uses a small sub-window that does not obstruct the user’s field of vision, is attachable/detachable, and can be used only when required. Users have the option to store the module away if it not needed.

Sony hopes the module will promote the adoption of wearable devices in new areas and plans to provide software development kits (SDK) to partner organizations for the Single-Lens Display Module requiring arithmetic processing capabilities.

Display arm of the module

Sony is planning to begin mass production in 2015 and will demonstrate a module called "SmartEyeglass Attach!" for sportswear at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA in January 2015.

The display module is equipped with a 0.23 inch High-Resolution Color OLED Microdisplay which claims to be one of the smallest in the world and has been made possible by combining Sony’s OLED and semiconductor silicon drive technologies. The display is capable of reproducing deep blacks with contrast ratio higher than 10,000:1 and covering 100% of the sRGB color space, thereby displaying images with rich, vibrant color.

With conventional panels, a light shield had to be incorporated into the pixel structure in order to achieve color purity in the RGB stripe matrix. Sony has optimized the matrix arrangement to enable a smaller light shield while miniaturizing pixel size and improving the aperture ratio. Sony has preserved the brightness necessary for use in outdoor conditions while achieving a panel size (10.2 mm x 7.9 mm).

Sony’s display module is equipped with a Micro-Optical Unit optimized for the OLED Microdisplay which enables the module to achieve the necessary size and weight. The Micro-Optical Unit contributes to the realization of high quality image projection in any lighting conditions, from a sunny outdoor environment to the dark indoors. The projected image’s diagonal angle of view converts to 13 degrees, which is equivalent to the field of view for a 16 inch display two meters in the distance. The image size was designed to be optimal for use as a sub-window, providing the necessary information without impeding a user’s view of the real world around you.

(Top) Sample field of vision;
(Bottom) Module attached to eyewear piece

The module is also equipped with a control board loaded with a processor with capabilities on par with smartphones, Wi-Fi functionality, and a variety of sensors. Sony achieved miniaturization of this control board by using high-density packing technology.

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