Controlling The Garmin HUD With Bluetooth

HUD

The Garmin HUD is a very neat device, putting all your navigational info, from ETA, what lane you should be in, and distance to your next turn right on your windscreen in a heads-up display. The only problem with the Garmin HUD is that it only works with the official Garmin app, despite being a Bluetooth device. Now, someone is finally digging in to the Garmin HUD protocol, allowing anyone to control this HUD from a cell phone, tablet, or computer.

Being completely unable to disassemble the Navigon app for the HUD, [gabonator] decided the only thing to do would be to open up the device and take a peek at some of the packets travelling between the microcontroller and bluetooth module.

[gabonator] expected human readable ASCII characters, but after looking at the nonsense decoded from his oscilloscope and decoding them manually, he tried simply looking at the display in operation to understand how the protocol worked. He got it all decoded, and managed to get a Sygic Navigation program working with this Garmin HUD. You can check out a video of that below.

Thanks [Kevin] for the tip.

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Snowboard goggle HUD displays critical data while falling down a mountain

snowboard-google-hud

[Chris] has been hard at work building a Heads Up Display into some Snowboarding goggles. We’re used to seeing the components that went into the project, but the application is unexpected. His own warning that the display is too close to your face and could cause injury if you were to fall highlights the impractical nature of the build. But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere when it comes to prototyping. Perhaps the next iteration will be something safe to use.

A set of MyVu glasses were added to the top portion of the goggles, which lets the wearer view the LCD output by looking slightly up. The display is fed by a Raspberry Pi board which connects to a GPS module, all of which is powered by a USB backup battery. In the video after the break you can see that the display shows time of day, speed, altitude, and temperature (although he hasn’t got a temperature sensor hooked up just yet). His bill of materials puts the project cost at about £160 which is just less that $250.

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Projecting video directly onto the retina

With the head-mountable, augmented reality Google Glass capturing tons of attention in the press, it was only a matter of time before we saw a DIY retina projector. This isn’t a new build; [Nirav] has been working on it for a few months, but it might just be time for this information to be useful to someone.

A retina projector focuses laser light though beam splitters and concave mirrors to create a raster display on the back of your eye. There’s an incredible amount of research into this field, but not many DIY projects. To make this project a reality, [Nirav] picked up a SHOWWX laser video projector and mounted it in a 3D printed frame along with a few pieces of optical equipment.

[Nirav]‘s build isn’t without its drawbacks, though. The exit pupil, or the apparent size of the image, is only about 1.5 mm wide and much too small to be of any real use. Also, commercial retina projectors have an output of a puny 2 microwatts, where [Nirav]‘s laser projector puts out 200 millwatts. This is more than enough to permanently damage your eye.

Google’s Project Glass and other head-mounted displays

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Google announced Project Glass, a real life head-mounted computer that’s actually useful. Glass is one of the projects being developed by Google X, the super-cool R&D department inside Google. On board are [Babak Parviz], [Steve Lee] and [Sebastian Thrun] (a.k.a. the guy you learned AI from last year).

Apart from an awesome video put up by the Google Glass team, there’s not much to go on. No hardware descriptions apart from concept pics, and nothing about software, the speech input, or even a complete list of features. Until that info is finalized it’s up to all the makers, hackers, and builders out there to figure out how to use a head-mounted display in public without getting strange looks. Here’s a few wearable computers and head mounted displays we’ve seen over the years:

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Bathroom mirror HUD displays time and weather

mirror_hud

By and large, the standard household mirror is one item that has not made much real progress over the years. They hang on the wall reflecting light, and that’s about it.

A few years back, some students studying in the Department of Interaction Design at Chalmers University sought to enhance their morning routine with an interactive mirror. Their project was constructed using a two-way mirror with several Arduino-driven LED displays embedded behind the glass. Once a hand is swiped past the pair of embedded light dependent resistors, the display is activated. Subsequent hand swipes trigger the mirror to toggle between the different modes, providing the user with the current time, weather information as well as a toothbrush timer.

The project writeup is quite thorough, including plenty of source code and information on some of the components they used. You can take a look at their work here (PDF).

Check out the interactive mirror we featured that served as inspiration for their project.

[Thanks Emil]

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HMD upgrade

[Banfield Design] has put together this instructable on how to upgrade or re build a head mounted display to be more immersive and add features.  Though you can already buy glasses style viewers for your media devices, they can use some upgrades. For one, you have to supply your own sound, and putting headphones on, over bulky glasses can be painful on your ears. Another area that could use improvement is the light that comes in around the glasses. The current trend is to make them as small as possible, but that tends to let your peripheral vision see the outside world. [Banfield design] wanted to make them more immersive, so he built them into some ski goggles. This not only helped block the light, but allowed for an over the ear style headphone assembly which is much easier on the ears.

A functional improvement came next, by adding a webcam front and center. He could now switch between a live feed of his environment and whatever other inputs he wanted. This could be really fun with some augmented reality. He has a list of future improvements, but he doesn’t mention adding a second camera for stereoscopic viewing of his surroundings. Why would you do that? because it would make augmented reality much cooler.

HUD for real life capture-the-flag

If you’ve played any of the Splinter Cell games you’ll remember the PDA that [Sam Fisher] carried around with him.  What if you could have one of your own when playing capture-the-flag? [Brad] has created the ZephyrEye as an electronic command and communications device for real-life games.

Each player carries around their own unit. The ZephyrEye has a GPS module, Xbee module, LCD screen, and control buttons. This allows a player to setup one of several different games, map out the game field including base locations and flag locations, and monitor a time limit and scoring. Other players can join the game in progress. The best part? The GPS modules report tracking to each handheld and act as radar for your team and the enemy team. We’ve got a couple of demo videos after the break.

Words can’t describe how delighted this would have made us back in the day. We don’t play outside with the other neighborhood kids anymore (insert dirty-old-man joke here) but that might change just because of this device. We may end up joining [Barney Stinson] for some amazingly awesome laser-tag games after all.

[Brad's] posted hardware information and source code so that you can use to throw together a dozen or so units. We think the next version should incorporate a wearable display.

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