The Simplest Smart Glasses Concept

Google Glass kind of came and went, leaving one significant addition to the English language. Even Google itself used the term “glasshole” for people who used the product in a creepy way. We can’t decide if wearing an obviously homemade set of glasses like the ones made by [Jordan Fung] are more creepy, give you more hacker cred, or just make you look like a Borg. Maybe some combination of all of those. While the cost and complexity of developing for Google Glass was certainly a barrier for hacking on that hardware, this project is just begging for you to build your own and run with the concept.

[Jordan’s] build, called Pedosa Glass, really is pretty respectable for a self-built set up. The Arduino Nano is a bit bulky, and the three push buttons take up some room, but it doesn’t kill the ability to mount them in a glasses form-factor. An FLCoS display lets you see the output of the software which [Jordan] is still developing. Right now features include a timer and a flashlight that uses the head-mounted white LED. Not much, we admit, but enough to prove out the hardware and the whole point would be to add software you wanted.

Admittedly, it isn’t exactly like Google Glass. Although both use FLCoS displays, Pedosa Glass uses a display meant for a camera viewfinder, so you don’t really see through it. Still, there might be some practical use for a little display mounted in your field of vision. The system will improve with a better CPU that is easier to connect to the network with sensors like an accelerometer — there’s plenty of room to iterate on this project. Then again, you do have an entire second ear piece to work with if you wanted to expand the system.

Check out the video demo after the break.

We’ve covered cool head-mounted displays before. Some of them have been pretty sophisticated. However, Pedosa Glass looks like the best bet to use as a base for your own explorations.

76 thoughts on “The Simplest Smart Glasses Concept

  1. The problem with tech like Glass (imo) is that it is over marketed, solving problems that just don’t exist. Kinda like the smart watch scene (really – other than a quick way to tell time, the only real use case atm for a smart watch is to display the notifications from your phone so you can determine if you should pull over and grab your phone or ignore and keep cruising).

    Other than for brief notifications while performing a task where one must keep looking forward (on pace while race training?), personally I haven’t really seen a great use for Glass, but I’ve seen a ton of mis-uses that pretty much guaranteed the ‘glasshole’ term was going to stick.

      1. I’m waiting for over 20 years for this revolution, and even longer for other much more important technologies – fusion reactors, photovoltaic panels with more than 17% efficiency, room-temperature superconductors and so on.
        And what I’m getting? Only echoes of old inventions or even in many cases we are getting worse solutions than were available years ago.

        1. INFATRUS – Where have you been in last 12 months? Already old technology now: Fusion Reactors Lockheed Martin says by 2017 but that really means they already have it. Super photovoltaics? Nanosolar (Brian Michel Sager) did it already but China knock them out of the marketplace with cheap knock-offs (but truth is US feds wanted the technology for themselves and made him an offer he could not refuse). Then room-temperature superconductors? Done at Max Planck U in Germany last year!

          1. Where I have been… just still waiting for real breakthrough, not for another cold-fusion (Fleischmann, Pons).

            Nanosoloar – production panels had 8-9% efficiency, so where’s the breakthrough? Even shitty Chinese panels have almost twice as much efficiency – with lenses, active cooling and heat conversion you can get maybe 25-30% efficiency at home.
            I have seen many other “breaking news” – quantum dots panels, perovskite, black nanocrystals – but nothing really works for now.

            Room-temperature @ Max Planck – where do you live? -70 degrees and 1,5Mbar in your room?

            The only unknown for me is Lockheed Martin, we will see… But I think high-temperature fusion is a dead end, we should look for other ways – I don’t know, maybe nanoscale reactors using atomic forces or something else…

          2. Lockheed’s claims are very similar to those made by EMC2 Inc, which until recently was contracted with the Navy. I can only guess that Lockheed most likely got the start of their project from them through some channel of military research. The fact that EMC2 Inc was actually given a contract with Microsoft instead of another one with the Navy tells me that either Lockheed already has one working or expects EMC2 to take longer on their own.

        2. NRL verified in 2011 NANOSOLAR Cells reached 17.1 % (“Nanosolar Achieves 17.1% Aperture Efficiency Through Printed CIGS Process”. 2011-10-05.). Who knows what DARPA has pushed it to today. NANOSOLAR went defunct in 2013.

          Nope ROOM TEMPERATURE (i.e. 47-90 degrees F) for a few picoseconds…

          Lockheed Martin is a very STRANGE place! They are secretly boasting about having REAL anti-gravity right now! They seem to have cracked the Podkletnov Effect without his help. NASA also cracked it with their Dr. Li but she bailed over to US Army Redstone R&D. Something about super-cooled YBCO disks spinning at > 500 rpm. NASA was too scared to push the envelope but Dr Li (et al) did it and was very successful (floating frogs and such). The US Army is thinking of using it in anti missile program. Who knows what LM wants it for. Maybe those triangle crafts every Joe Schnoe is reporting near USAF bases these days? I dunno!

          1. Dan – I’d love to read Dr. Martin Green’s paper on this, I think he is talking about filtering out IR light the way Alexander Graham Bell did with his ALUM heat filter for his Photo Phone in 1899. Bell only had Selenium not Silicon like we have today. Can you imagine all this stuff is is just SAND???!!! %-)

          2. All they are doing is getting around the fundamental problem that the material’s band gap is “tuned” to a specific range of frequencies. Split the spectrum and harvest each band with a different receiver and you get a massive boost to the efficiency of the overall device. This is what they are perfecting now. Not sure what the exact theoretical conversion limit is for a split spectrum but it looks like they are well on the way to being able to get near it.

          3. Dan – I know optics is your forte. Here is a spectrum chart for silicon. Notice that it peaks at near infrared around 900 nm. Red light (red laser pointers) around 600 + or – . So silicon solar cells are good for detecting red to IR light. Now how does Dr Green receive other light frequencies via filtering alone? He would have to have other photo-reactive elements I would think like GaAs, Se, Germanium. etc. Just band-passing UV to a Silicon solar cell seems problematic to me.


          4. It is not “just silicon”, the quantum magic is due to doping (small numbers of other atom types that distort the crystal structures) and that is where the band-gap tuning comes in. You can stack bands or have them in stripes and split the light across an angle, the end result is the same.

            Just look at solar cells as antenna and it will work with your intuition better. Ever seen a fractal antenna? Imagine doing that with THz and higher frequencies, and over a huge range. That is the problem in a nutshell and also the answer. How the solution is implemented varies on what fabrication technologies you have that you think you can scale up to factory scales. There are a lot of options.

        3. Id like too see citations of what in AR space was worse “years ago”

          Cellphones drove a component revolution on multiple fronts. The components simply wernt there before – let alone cheap and mass market.

          Its a bit like saying “whens this cellphone revolution going to come….Star Trek was ages ago!!!”

          1. I’d like to see a HaD project that took a toy or movie prop Star Trek TOS communicator and added a Bluetooth handset in it. I’d like to look geeky using it with my cellphone and really speakerphone with someone on my ST Comm Unit – Enterprise… One to beam up! SOTB out, (LOL)

    1. Due to the glassholes stigma perhaps it’s better to compare it to air-force/military HUD systems.

      And I agree about the smartwatch, they do have a sort of cuteness to them from a HaD reader viewpoint, but even the most ardent fan of apple or android find they can’t find a good use for them and stop wearing them I hear.
      I think the concept is for more specialized use for people into some types of hobbies or a narrow range of more technical professions, as opposed to the larger public.

      1. The main allure of a smartwatch is that it’s always there, ready to be used and without intruding into your experience in day to day life. Then they made them require bluetooth to a big bulky non-waterproof phone.

        I’ve had my Podor PW306 (a Chinese knock-off of the poorly run Kickstarter project, Omate Truesmart) for a year now. It takes a SIM and runs full Android 4.2. After working with another guy on XDA devs we got it running 4.4.2 and now it’s a solid device (albeit aging fast). I don’t have another phone, and it serves my needs perfectly without absorbing my time into time-wasting distractions (like Facebook and its terrible games). I keep a Chinese 8″ Windows tablet with me if I need screen real estate.

        1. ” without intruding into your experience in day to day life”
          well…. glassholes

          i am sufficiently dorky not to care bout other peoples opinion about me, but not everyone is like that.

          having a gadget strapped to your face poses pshichlogical and social challenges that are far from inobtrusive.

          i am not trying to sway your opinion, but i like a balnced arguentation…

        2. Blufires – I should have waited for the Chinese knock offs for $47 USD on WISH web site. Instead I shelled out $90 bucks for a Pebble Time. China takes too long to get through US Customs. I still haven’t fired it up yet. I’m a little bummed that it has no touch screen and you can’t use it like a Dick Tracey watch with your cell phone. It uses Bluetooth but not for 2-way audio – dag’ nab’ it!!! :-)

          You can send canned SMS replies with it though…

        3. “it’s always there, ready to be used and without intruding into your experience in day to day life.”

          Not when the battery only lasts for 18 hours and I have to let it charge for 3
          Not when the battery get worse in a year, or two…

    2. One use I can think of for a head-mounted display is as a relatively cheap night vision system. Take in a camera image and auto-level it. Probably better to do so before logarithmic scaling is applied. Blur slightly if needed to remove artifacts. Good for avoiding use of night-lights when sharing a room and seeing outside in areas with light poolution restrictions.

      1. MDude – I got a great idea from reading a Chinese website that sells night vision CCTV. They use a high-powered IR laser with a beam diverger to widen the beam a bit. My NV googles are dirt cheap and only go 50 feet. That really sucks when walking around in woods and a wild animal approaches! I have this Laser Range Finder with a lot of range. I might just use it to illuminate distant targets. I wish there was a way to minimize the eery dull glow NV goggles give off. Can’t really sneak around with that glow. It can be spotted by naked eye.

          1. I know a LOT of real engineers. Several dozen, easily.

            Maybe 75% of them use arduinos from time to time, at this point.

            The ones who dont use arduino say things like “I would love to try out arduino!”

            I think bitter weirdos are the main vocal anti-arduino people..

  2. Very impressive project, especially for a 13yr old boy! Not sure what I’d do with something like that, but it’s still really really cool. Congratulations to Jordan on a great project. :-)

    1. Yeah, I figured I’d give some constructive criticism instead of all these non-glassholes, but true ***holes on here to the young guy. So the mobile power situation. You can probably pick up a decent external rechargeable phone battery that has good amp hour output that will connect to the USB port you have. That way you don’t really have to alter anything on your project to connect a battery to it and plus mounting a battery to the glasses would probably wretch your neck after awhile. The other thing, be careful when you say the clock isn’t accurate on the chips. Those clocks are pretty accurate with slight heating effects playing in, but for the most part, it will probably be accurate enough for a simple clock to tell time. You may need to go in edit the code via the tech-manual using interrupts, as you would through avr-gcc or eclipse or whatnot. I believe you can do this in the arduino IDE without having to take that next step of going into avr-gcc, but I’m not terribly sure. This way you would only have to alter the code that effects the timing. Here’s a good link to help you out: Good luck with your project and I hope you learn a lot from it!

    1. One button interface with multiple uses is more industry standard. When you’re fumbling around wit your glasses one button works better. Also it could be like those old IBM laptop one button keyboard mouse toggles. I think it had 5 positions. Up down right left and fire? Maybe just 4?

  3. Nice project if you have one of those displays in your parts bin. The full VGA version is only $20 more and both should be able to take RGB serial data as an input, but at 27 Mbyte/s you may need something like a NanoPi to drive it.

    That said it will still be very interesting to see how much functionality young Master Fung can squeeze out of the Arduino Nano.

    1. Yeah – but it wouldnt have given role-crazed self-appoointed STEM evangelists and political partisans a chance to take part in empty rhetoric. Like bright teenagers dont know the truth about ahmed, if they google him and read for 5 minutes.

      Only adults can be that misguided.

      Kids like this should be randomly rewarded by roving gangs of internet do-gooders armed with tax deductible $ to donate in the form of equipment, training, software, etc. If rich ‘masters of the universe and valley’ had any self respect, they would have already funded some serious outreach of this type.

        1. Noirwhal – “Trump is not president.. What is the purpose of your statement?”

          It’s called American sarcasm… We Yanks love our silly tongue-in-cheek humor. ‘The Donald’ has enuf $$$ to win the election. JEB has more but too many skeletons in family closet. Mrs. Clinton can’t get past Bengazi.Sanders is a SOCIALIST which is what our Yank-nutz accused Obama of. Carson is an unknown but his violence incident 50 years ago will haunt him now. The Donald is a shoe-in I think. I personally don’t care for him. I think he is a blunt instrument with no real finesse.

          Maybe he will fund HaD projects if the NSA or NASA (et al) asks him to? It’s a great website and forward-thinking projects forum. Almost like a civilian’s version of DARPA. I personally love HaD and can’t get enough of it!!! ;->


          1. Uhhh… Ok.. I am a yank, so I have some understanding of the election dynamics.

            What I dont see is Trump’s relationship to my original statement, or the person I was replying to.

            Trump is unlikely to win, but if he does, DHS and other agencies will continue domestic propaganda. President, no matter how charismatic, is not allowed to get in the way of the vast secret-agency machinations.

            JFK tried.

          2. Funny comments you make.

            One thing I want to add to the original thread of thought – this whole thing really could be about Ahmed’s father’s political ambitions still. it seems totally tinfoilhatted, but they moved back to Qatar and ‘met the opposition’ that his father has run against several times. If Ahmed’s father runs again, which seems likely apparently, and especially if he wins, this really does make the narrative ‘make more sense’ if you are into conspiracy!

          3. Noirwhal – I’m funny? Thanx I try :D

            Regarding Ahmed Mohamed conspiracy theories? All started by Dr. “God Delusion” – Clinton Richard Dawkins. Clint and I debated once online about atheism. Clint has a acute priapism for ANY religion as he was once molested by an Anglican a teenager (allegedly). So anything the man says is arguably just HIS delusions. And don’t worry about Papa M (Ahmed’s dad?). If he gets out of hand POTUS-45 has two Predator Drones with 3 Hellfires with his name on it (ala US Citizen Anwar al-Awlaki 30-Sep-2011? ABC-NEWS video).

          4. If you really knew anything about Dawkins you would know that he is an Agnostic, not a hard Atheist. There is a profound difference between the two views. So, are you a liar, or did you have an argument with “somebody” without ever having a clue what they were really talking about on a fundamental level? Atheism and Theism are both as irrational as each other because they both require you to believe something as a certainty without being able to prove it.

        2. I was kinda’ responding to HackJack’s comment about Washington DC and the Whitehouse. However, you are not wrong about other stuff. JEB thinks he is the shoe in with his father’s remaining clout even at 91 years old! And it is still immense. His retarded brother got in with vote tampering in Ohio and Florida. JEB thinks it ill work again but this time with the infamous Diebold hack in full force. The Donald has ‘paid’ friends in low places that will thwart JEB and family. You can ‘buy’ a lot of trade-craft friends at places that rhyme with Academic and Noir-eau (well kinda’ sorta’). I think Erik likes The Donald and will help out this time. (All above just IMHO).

          Being that Donald is a very ‘blunt instrument’ he will undoubtedly just put the reins in alphabet soup’s hands and let the pieces fall were they may. That means that the E-Ring will run our wars without much micromanagement from POTUS like how POTUS-43 (and VPOTUS) did almost daily on the lead up to OEF (and A). So IOW things will get MUCH worse on the domestic surveillance front. At the end everybody gets Presidential pardons (sound familiar?).

          If you think DHS is outta’ control now (like how they give local yokel’s carte blanche access to the network) then you just wait until Donald takes the Oval Office in January 2016. Your local cop will know all about your social media posts too. Imagine Officer Friendly becomes Officer Nosy and if you bad mouth him or his department he pulls you over one night and asks: Hey wanna’ join the club? Which club is that officer? The Rodney King Club of course… (D’oh).

          You’re right about Jack (POTUS JFK). He should have never made that crack about breaking up and spreading a certain “somebody” into the wind. That’s where it all started when Mr Dulles heard that. Then attorney Oliver Barr McClellan and his boys take us down that VPOTUS LBJ rabbit hole to Dallas Texas on 22-Dec-1963. You know it was supposed to happen in Miami? Maybe the Donald will release the NARA archives sooner on this. Ms. Clinton might too as her husband declassified a crap load of secret stuff back in the 1990’s. I can’t wait until end of this month. It’s probably going to be hilarious when we see all the machinations play out to the end.

          You really need to check out the YouTube with the Donald at a recent holy-joe religious (votes!) leaders meeting where a local Rabbi puts the Vulcan mind meld grip to the Donald’s face and prays for him! It’s hilarious the expression on the Donald’s face! It was like he was thinking: Jeez! These guys will be my first file-13 target when I’m in office! Who needs em?!

          “Of course I jest!!!” – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog :-D

    1. great work! Perhaps as a useful application you could put in a magnetic sensor, and then your eye glass could display a compass bearing? So when you turn your head around you always know which direction you are facing.

  4. I like how it uses an experiment board with proper soldering, sometimes you get the impression nobody uses them anymore, but I think they have their place in experimental projects.

    1. I was exactly thinking the same! Very well done project – I’m also curious about what kind of other apps Jordan will come up with. Maybe a midi player with a little speaker next to the ear? A compass sensor for simple navigation?

  5. I would like to see a Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement (or VISOR) like on Star Trek. I bought those cheap wearable glasses and would like to attach a small monocular or microscope to a camera and use it for enhanced vision. They will work with your glasses with some minor adjustments, This guy in this YouTube video below took a pair apart and built a Google Glass look alike similar to Jordan’s project – But he uses Raspberry Pi:

    1. I think DuPont’s Super AMOLED’s show promise.

      You know you can cannibalize toys that have small display monitors like those R/C tanks? The old one has a B/W monitor in an ocular headset and the newer one has a color one in the R/C control unit. There’s also a mini fax receiving device that has one. I think it is an OLED device. I think Jordan was talking about cannibalizing a modern video camera’s eyepiece. That;s expensive if you don’t find a busted one at thrift store like Goodwill. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts the Fung’s don’t let Jordan anywhere near a Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Savers. That’s where they send the au pair to DONATE old busted stuff not shop!

  6. Always hated the term Glasholes – invented to give judgement on people for how they look.
    It was not about people behaving uncivilly with Google Glass – the term came to peak far before any real potential assholes would have had a chance to meet a person writing a tech article. The term was, at best a assumption.

    Also, Glass DOES NOT look like BORG. Seriously folks.
    Get your Trek right. It looks like the Jem’hadar hmd;

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