Wearable Raspberry Pi Turns You Into The Borg

The Hoboken hackerspace, MakerBar, recently hosted a very special guest – [Rob Bishop] from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Wanting to impress [Rob], [Zach] and a few others from MakerBar put together a wearable computer based on the Raspberry Pi in just a few hours.

Putting a Raspi, small Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo, and a USB charger equipped with lithium-ion battery wasn’t that hard. The tricky part was finding a wearable display. Luckily, [Zach] had a pair of MyVu Crystal video glasses lying around and after a tricky bit of dissassembly, the folks at MakerBar had a completely wearable computer.

Apart from the RCA cable connecting the Raspi to the glasses, the project is completely wireless; with a small webcam also mounted to the display, the Pi in the Face could easily be a platform for figuring out what to do with Google Glass.

[Zach] said the entire setup could be reconstructed for about $100, a fair price for being turned in to [Locutus] of Borg

42 thoughts on “Wearable Raspberry Pi Turns You Into The Borg

  1. Sourcing wearable displays is the most difficult part of trying to build a wearable, nowadays.

    Cheap video glasses are pricey with shitty resolutions. Higher resolutions unavailable from companies for hobbyists…

    Been trying to get decent parts for years…

    Anyone with a different story, experience, advice?

    1. They’re not that small, nor color (that i’ve seen), but the CRT viewfinders from old camcorders probably aren’t too hard to find, they’re powered from 5v, and take in a composite video stream. They’re also pretty high quality pictures (i think they actually display at 480i, but the pixels are too small for me to see)

    2. I got really lucky and found a pair of LCD glasses at a thrift store for $2. The only problems were no power adapter and the frame was broken. They work flawlessly. I found the model online, retailing for $100, and yes, the resolution is terrible, but all in all it’s not a bad display. I just wish they had kept bespectacled people like myself in mind when they made it.

  2. Jeri has competition :-)

    I have the original Myvu glasses here, sadly the connector has fallen apart.
    Has anyone here managed to directly connect a bare display to anything else?
    Also another possible method is to get one of the early B/W camcorders (have one here), rip out the little display and provide the -13V and +3.3V it needs using a switching converter.

    Using the crystal’s old broken solidoptex eyepiece as a host means you can connect any old display and have it work, even a CRT one.

      1. CRT Viewfinders are Black/White. Monochrome CRT’s in the size of a standard Tube television only requires a 10 Kv acceleration potential. The accelerating voltage on those small 1/2 Inch CRT’s are only 2-3Kv – NOT Enough to produce Xrays! I think when [bothersaidpooh] is talking about -13V it must be a small LCD display. The CRT viewfinders that i have played with are all with a single voltage from 4V to about 9V

        1. I recall from an instructable a couple of years go about taking the viewers of an old camcorder, and finding out what wires (there are usually 4) are the signal wires, and which are the voltage. So basically you take the viewer, and one of those little 9volt pinhole cameras, put them together sending the camera signal to the viewer, and some power, and it’s a night vision device (probably gen-0 quality). The instructions mentioned that you had to be careful about not overdriving the viewer with too much DC or the little CRT will create X-Rays. I purchased a used camera from Goodwill and opened up a viewer to see a little warning sticker inside about something like that too – meant for technicians.
          I don’t have time at the moment to find the link to the article about the night vision device, but I remember finding it through Hackaday.

          1. The flyback transformer will breakdown long before even 5Kv, so X-rays … No! You need 25-30kV to generate X-rays… The sticker is a warning against high voltage, since the electronics can give you a nice shock. There is 2-3 Kv on the anode terminal and around 100V on the neck.

          2. Well that’s good to know. Thanks. I did get a shock from the electronics of the camera while checking line signals – a low amp shock of course or I would not be here.

            Here I thought using it would give be a big fat tumor on my head to go with the hunch on my back.

  3. Just saw this on my rss feed, wonder if you could buy them out of batch quantities when available…

    Measuring just 0.48 of an inch diagonally, the new panel offers XGA (1024 x 768) resolution in red, green and blue for a total of 2.36 megapixels. It is the latest addition to Epson’s renowned ULTIMICRON series, which already includes a 0.47-inch SVGA panel and a 0.52-inch QHD panel.


  4. I was going to try and make an IR to visible converter for my PC using a spare NV Gen 0 tube and a Nokia 3310 screen Epoxied to the IR side, with an IR LED behind it.

    Sounds doable?

    1. This reminds me and I hope someone can help. The issue around the eyepiece, are there any builds for that? Also, the Head Up Displays and the lens setup for that – while I have searched the web for what lenses to use and such, I have found little. I did find some old drawing from Germany from the 1930s, but that was not really technical.
      When I say HUD, I am not referring to the kind of setup you see with a red-dot gun site, which ranges (depending on quality) from an LED behind a semi-reflective curved lens that enlarges like a magnifying makeup mirror to a real hologram (like an Eotech for example). I have worked with military HUD systems and they used two panes of glass and some big fat lens under them, and no matter how far you focused your eyes, the stuff in the HUD didn’t change. If anybody can help me with that and point me where I need to go, I would appreciate it.

  5. Pi. $25
    “Duracell phone recharger” assuming you’re speaking of USB power packs, $15-40, or more, depending on what you use. One that takes two AA batteries and turns it into a battery pack is a$15, but I don’t know if that could actually run this unit…say $20.
    Sd card, $10, depending on size.
    Keyboard used, $50, $28.99 on amazon prime.
    And the kicker. Myvu crystal. $200, $50 if your lucky and can get a used model.

    So. $305, or so, to $134, based on his own parts list. Not $100.

    And that’s without the specialty micro SD adapter, and without a wireless device of any kind. Small USB hub, $9. Small wireless dongle, $20.

    Not to say that’s bad for a self powered wearable computer. For about $150, carefully sourcing parts, you could have a wearable, viable, linux cyborg rig. That’s not something to frown over…but it’s a good bit more than $100.

  6. I’m rocking an RPi with one of the cheap SpyGear HMDs (the $15 ones from a year or two ago). The resolution is low (170×120 or something, about 20×15 characters) but it’s perfectly usable.

  7. Hey Dragonball Display,

    Jezt fehlt nur noch eine Gehirnsteuerung, könntest ja noch ein paar eeg magnetresonanz leseköpfe einbauen weil du hast ein Geist.

    und vielleicht noch ein Holodispplay.

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