Oh, for crying out loud! While we were all giddy reporting on yesterday’s wonderfully done head-mounted computer, [Andrew Lim] of recombu.com comes along and essentially does the same thing with an HTC Magic handset and three dollars worth of Harbor Freight crap. Linux kernel, WiFi, accelerometer, the whole nine yards. Consider our collective ass handed to us.
Funny thing is, either of these could be considered The Consummate Hack. One flaunting the creator’s know-how with its custom-designed parts and delicate engineering, the other exhibiting a more punk flair with random scraps and off-the-shelf technology achieving much the same effect — a solution so obvious we were blind to it. Whatever your outlook, this is a great day to be a hacker!
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.
[Xenonjon] wanted to make a Heads Up Display that he could use while maintaining the ability to see. The most logical choice was a monocular set up. He had an old Eye-Trek laying around and decided to sacrifice it to make his Heads Up Display. Combining a screen from his TV glasses and a wireless security camera setup, he was able to achieve an untethered monocular HUD. This has a multitude of uses, from displaying vital information, to home made night vision, or just watching TV while you work.
There’s plenty of good pictures and information there. The final result is a pair of safety glasses with the display and a pack that you have to put on your belt that holds batteries and the wireless receiver. It seems as though it isn’t horribly cumbersome, but we’d have to try it for a while to say if it would be ergonomically sound.
Yesterday, Gizmodo published a roundup of wearable gadgets for people who “don’t mind looking like a tool”. It’s interesting to see what has been deemed commercially viable and put into mass production. The list covers HMDs, embedded WiFi detectors, integrated keyboards, tech jackets, speaker hats, and others. We thought you might find some inspiration from the list for your next project. In the past, we embedded a WiFi detector in a backpack strap for our Engadget how-to. The natural choice for wearable projects is the LilyPad Arduino which was featured most recently in the turn signal jacket.
[jongscx] picked up a Myvu personal media viewer and promptly began scheming about improvements. He decided he wanted to be able to watch any input on the device, not just an Ipod.
After some messing about with different inputs, he eventually calls Myvu to ask some questions. Surprisingly, he gets the engineer who designed the thing. The engineer turns out to be pretty helpful and is happy to help him hack the device. [jongscx] ends up finally getting it to work and posts the schematic for the world to see.
He says his hands are full with some other projects right now, but hopefully he’ll do an official write up with pictures of the final product soon.
[DrNathan] wrote in to note that [RetroPlayer] was responsible for much of the work as well as contacting the engineer.
We’ve wanted headed mounted display technology to take hold for a long time. Gizmodo recently compared two consumer models: the Zeiss Cinemizer ($400) and the Myvu Crystal ($300). Unfortunately the resolution of HMDs has gone nowhere in the last 10 years. These two devices only support 640×480 and are aimed specifically at iPod users. With computers getting smaller and higher resolution, we’re surprised that HMDs have not followed suit. Why isn’t someone going to market with a 1280×720 headset? If you really must choose one of these two, we’d recommend the Myvu. It has composite input so you can hook almost anything up to it.