Head-mounted computer with Linux, WiFi

hmdlinux

Most wearable computers we’ve seen feature a head-mounted display tethered to a small PC system in a backpack or worn on a belt. Here’s a slick little system that does away with the cord, fitting the entire system in the glasses.

[Pascal Brisset’s] WXHMD is based on the tiny Gumstix Overo Fire computer-on-module which features a beefy, 3D-capable OMAP processor that runs Linux. The Gumstix is interfaced with a Vuzix VR920 head-mounted display that includes a three-axis accelerometer and compass. Tying these together is a custom video digital-to-analog converter board of [Pascal’s] own design, created using direct-to-PCB inkjet printing techniques. For less than $1,000 total in parts, the result is a spatially aware six ounce computer, with display and battery and all, that fits neatly over the bridge of one’s nose.

It’s a fantastic hack and a nicely documented project, though even the device’s creator himself questions whether having a pair of microwave transceivers and a LiPo battery strapped directly over one’s eyes and brain is such a good idea.

[thanks w3pt]

Comments

  1. Quvmoh says:

    Just one step closer to designer wet ware so i can surf while in meetings…

  2. cath0de says:

    great project. great post. thanks h a d.

  3. risu says:

    could use a little polishing up, but i like the idea. a lot shoved into a tiny space.

  4. Steve says:

    wow; awesome post and project – thanks phil!

  5. svofski says:

    Do systems that put imaginary display surface in hyperfocal surface exist? And semi-transparent, too? Is this even optically possible? It would be awesome if you could wear this stuff as goggles that add tags to things you normally see, not as something that completely replaces your view with a computer-generated picture. Add GPS and I’d like a bike computer like that then.

  6. VV says:

    Yes it is possible, you see it on car windscreens alot. Not sure how it works but hey im sure it could be done.

  7. polymath says:

    @svofski

    vuzix already makes a camera attachment for these things so augmented reality like your talking about is definitely within reach. Though I would rather have it projected on car windows and windshield than on a head set while driving.

  8. Zymastorik says:

    Now that’s a nice post. Keep bringing us stuff like this.

  9. Max says:

    I would personally just try to make the glasses wireless (wireless VGA or something) that way i have can have a powerful off board computer process complex scene and calculations, this solution definitely keeps it small and mobile.

    Pretty awesome project

  10. Physic.dude says:

    Speaking of LINUX

  11. Physic.dude says:

    ubuntu is almost here!!
    3 days

  12. deathventure says:

    IT would be similar to the HUD in a fighter jet. We’ll see it soon enough.

  13. rob says:

    One of the coolest posts in a long while.

  14. zoidberg says:

    “the result is a spatially aware 170 gram computer”

    There, fixed it for ya.

  15. w3pt says:

    glad you guys liked this. i found it randomly while looking up an embedded display setup for my office. if you guys find any cool hacks be sure to submit them!

  16. JG says:

    This is a great idea, but everyone already has a cell phone in their pocket, many of which have a 600mhz or faster processor in them. So why not use this as a wireless display/controller for a phone with internet and 3d capabilities. It would be much more comfortable to have a 180g cell phone with those capabilities running linux and these glasses with the compass and accelerometer built in.

  17. tapius says:

    Sounds like lots of noise about TOLEDs Transparent Organic LEDs and Augmented Reality yeah get android on this thing and a camera to see where your going and its perfect, and while we’re not caring about brain cancer, throw 3G connectivity too.

  18. HaDAk says:

    >>Do systems that put imaginary display surface in hyperfocal surface exist? And semi-transparent, too? Is this even optically possible? It would be awesome if you could wear this stuff as goggles that add tags to things you normally see, not as something that completely replaces your view with a computer-generated picture. Add GPS and I’d like a bike computer like that then.

    This is augmented reality, and I want it so bad X_x

  19. andrew says:

    wow now THIS is a hack! awesome :)

  20. jimmys says:

    Wow. Nice catch, w3pt.

    “even the device’s creator himself questions whether having a pair of microwave transceivers and a LiPo battery strapped directly over one’s eyes and brain is such a good idea.”

    Radiation, yes indeed! You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked, goggle-boxed do-gooders telling everybody it’s bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred chest x-rays a year. They should have them too.

  21. warhound says:

    A pair of goggles like this with augmented reality would be awesome for cyclocross, showing upcoming turns and map of the course could make for some extremely awesome geekery.

  22. Younata says:

    “It’s a fantastic hack and a nicely documented project, though even the device’s creator himself questions whether having a pair of microwave transceivers and a LiPo battery strapped directly over one’s eyes and brain is such a good idea.”

    Not sure about the battery part. However, aluminum foil should help with the trasceivers.

  23. Daley says:

    @warhound:

    I was thinking along similar lines, but for the street. I’ve long dreamt of putting a HUD in my full-face helmet, but I just wasn’t willing to have a huge cable running down my back. This would make a full-featured helmet completely wireless.

    Thanks h-a-d and w3pt!

  24. bothersaidpooh says:

    add phased backlights and you would have 3-D too (at half the frame rate)

    i did run into a method of displaying colour field sequential 3-D, by displaying opposing colour fields on each screen. So you end up with L (G) R (R,B), then on the next frame L (R,B) and R (G)

    requires only a MC1377 and some logic to implement, and two RGB LEDs mounted in place of the existing backlights.

  25. svofski says:

    @VV, polymath and other augumented reality posts: car windshield projection simply uses the fact that glass passes only part of the light, it’s a projection on glass as a screen. In a car it’s normal to refocus the eyes to look at the windshield so it’s not a problem.

    In goggles this is harder, you have to make the imaginary screen appear at certain distance to the eye, while in reality it’s too close to focus. This is an optical problem already, but I believe it’s been solved, or HMD’s like this wouldn’t exist. Now if we want to have realworld image together with projected image, we need the projected image to appear in hyperfocal plane and magically superimposed. Now that doesn’t sound impossible at all, but I had never seen anything like this for some reason and I wonder why. No commercial applications yet, or is the optics for this too complex and heavy for practical use maybe?

    Don’t get “designer concepts” you see in blogs for real, you would never be able to see cool images projected on your regular pair of shades. And re:VGA cam.. That’s a hack ;) I would never trust my entire field of view to a laggy low res vga cam.

  26. bigstream says:

    It’s looks ugly…

  27. McNoob says:

    they do have those camcorder displays that project an imaginary field, add a half silvered mirror to the mix and youre home.

    i saw some online with in color hd and vga.

  28. 0x808080 says:

    Imagine about 20 of those in a beowulf cluster

  29. EvilEngineer says:

    Good to see someone else is hacking their VR920.

    The main pain I have with these HMD’s are they require you to have perfect vision in order to use them. If you do not have perfect vision, you still need to wear glasses in order to use the vr920, which brings up another problem. Trying to fit glasses in between the HMD and your face is painful and doesn’t work. A simple telescoping option for each optic would fix this.

    To wear the VR920 comfortably I had to destroy the case and remount the device in a pair of sports goggles. The sports strap and added room in the goggles leaves room for my glasses and fits my larger head.

    I’m very curious how Vuzix new line of Wrap HMDs will work by comparison.

  30. Tux says:

    One step closer to Dennou Coil.

  31. turn.self.off says:

    i could have sworn that vuzix sell optical inserts for glasses users…

    btw, how about remodeling the antenna as anime cyberpunk bunny-ears?

  32. just seen this on twitter cheers for the info.

  33. Great project – I agree, though, a device over the eye and brain might be a little too out there…

  34. Rick says:

    @jimmys

    Your body can withstand some radiation fine, but can your eye withstand an exploding battery right next to it?

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