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.
After futzing around with a cheap pico projector, a webcam and a little bit of software, [Jas Strong] built herself a 3d scanner.
In spite of the dozens of Kinect-based scanner projects, we’ve seen structured light 3d scanners before. This method of volumetric scanning projects a series of gradient images onto a subject. A camera captures images of the patterns of light and dark on the model, math happens, and 3d data is spit out of a computer.
[Jas] found a Microvision SHOWWX laser pico projector on Woot. The laser in the projector plays a large part in the quality of her 3d models – without a focus, [Jas] can get very accurate depth information up close. A Logitech webcam modified for a tighter focus handles the video capture responsibilities. The software side of things are a few of these structured light utilities that [Jas] melded into a single Processing sketch.
The results are pretty remarkable for a rig that uses woodworking clamps to hold everything together. [Jas]’ 3d model of her cat’s house looks very good. She’s got a few bugs to work out in her setup, but [Jas]
plans on releasing her work out into the wild very soon. We’ll update this post whenever that happens. made her code available here. The code requires the ControlP5 and PeasyCam libraries.
Although virtual reality was the wave of the future in the early 90’s, it hasn’t really taken off the way we would have liked. Sometimes a great idea just takes time for the technology to catch up to it (Aeolipile anyone?). Now that tiny projectors, realistic FPS games, and eye tracking systems have come down in price, this head-tracking projection system engineered by students at University of Texas at Austin could be the start of something really neat.
Although we’ve seen some cool FPS/pico projector hacks before, most of them use the “gun” as the controller. This approach offers a a different experience as one isn’t required to carry a “gun” around. It simply tracks one’s eye movement and moves the projector automatically. Check out the video after the break to see this device in action. Continue reading “Virtual Reality With A Pico Projector” →