In a move intended to counter the lukewarm reception by consumers of products such as Google Glass, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, have developed a design which they say is small and unobtrusive. They also claim the glasses can correct farsightedness.
Data glasses usually consist of a micro-display that generates the image and optics that project the image onto the desired object or position. While the micro-display of Fraunhofer's design measures 8 x 15mm, similar in size to conventional models, the optics are only 5mm long. "We designed our glasses to be small and discreet," says Dr Peter Schreiber, group manager in the Micro-optical Systems department at Fraunhofer. "This allows us to obtain the same results with a much shorter structure."
The design uses a nanoscale lattice structure applied to a glass plate as a light guide. This helps to position information on the lens exactly where the viewer is looking, rather than projecting information on the edge of the lens.
People who need prescription glasses usually have difficulty reading the information displayed in data glasses. Fraunhofer claims users of its glasses can enter their vision data into an app on their smartphone, which sends the relevant information via Bluetooth. The device then adjusts images in such a way that they appear sharp. Frauhofer says the glasses may also be able to partly compensate for other vision problems, such as astigmatism and shortsightedness.
As well as tourism, the data glasses could offer solutions in applications including health monitoring and industrial applications.