Tiny OLED displays are an absolute must-have in the modern parts bin, so what better way to show your allegiance to the maker movement than with a pair of Arduino-compatible OLED glasses? Created by Arduboy mastermind [Kevin Bates], these digital spectacles might not help you see any better — in fact, you’ll see a bit worse — but they’ll certainly make you stand out in the crowd at the next hacker con. (Whenever we can have one of those again, anyway.)
The key to this project is a pair of transparent CrystalFonts OLED displays, just like the ones [Sean Hodgins] recently used to produce his gorgeous volumetric display. In fact, [Kevin] says it was his success with these displays that inspired him to pursue his own project. With some clever PCB design, he came up with some boards that could be manufactured by OSH Park and put together with jewelry box hinges. Small flexible circuits, also from OSH Park, link the boards and allow the frames to fold up when not being worn.
The Arduglasses use the same ATmega32U4 microcontroller as the Arduboy, and with a few basic controls and a small 100 mAh rechargeable battery onboard, they can technically run anything from the open source handheld’s extensive software library. Of course, technically is the operative word here. While the hardware is capable of playing the games, [Kevin] reports that the OLED displays are too close to the wearer’s eyes to actually focus on them. That said the ability to easily create software for these glasses offers plenty of opportunity for memes, as we see in the video below.
For reasons that are probably obvious, [Kevin] considers the Arduglasses an experiment and isn’t looking to turn them into a commercial product or kit. But if there’s interest, he’s willing to put the design files up on GitHub for anyone who wants to add a pair of Arduino glasses to their cyberpunk wardrobe.
Continue reading “The Future’s So Bright, You Gotta Wear Arduglasses”
[Sean Hodgins] is out with his latest video and it’s a piece of art in itself. Beyond a traditional project show and tell, he’s spun together a cyberpunk vibe to premiere the volumetric display he built from an OLED stackup. Update: He’s also documented the build.
The trick of a volumetric display is the ability to add a third dimension for positioning pixels. Here [Sean] delivered that ability with a stack up of ten screens to add a depth element. This is not such an easy trick. These small OLED displays are all over the place but they share a common element: a dark background over which the pixels appear. [Sean] has gotten his hands on some transparent OLED panels and with some Duck-Duck-Go-Fu we think it’s probably a Crystalfontz 128×56 display. Why is it we don’t see more of these? Anyone know if it’s possible to remove the backing from other OLED displays to get here. (Let us know in the comments.)
The rest of the built is fairly straight-forward with a Feather M4 board driving the ten screens via SPI, and an MPU-6050 IMU for motion input. The form factor lends an aesthetic of an augmented reality device and the production approach for the video puts this in a Bladerunner or Johnny Mnemonic universe. Kudos for expanding the awesome of the build with an implied backstory!
If you can’t find your own transparent displays, spinning things are a popular trend in this area. We just saw one last week that spun an LED matrix to form cylindrical display. Another favorite of ours is a volumetric display that spins a helix-shaped projection screen.
One of the major advantages of OLED over LCD panels is that the former can be made using far fewer layers as the pixels themselves are emitting the light instead of manipulating the light from a backlight. This led some to ask the question of whether it’s possible to make an OLED panel that is transparent or at least translucent. As Xiaomi’s new Mi TV LUX OLED Transparent Edition shows, the answer there is a resounding ‘yes’. Better yet, for a low-low price of about $7,200 you can own one of these 55″ marvels.
Transparent OLED technology is not new, of course. Back in 2018 LG was showing off a prototype TV that used one of the early transparent OLED panels. In the video that is embedded after the break, [Linus] from Linus Tech Tips goes hands-on with that LG prototype while at LG in South Korea, while including a number of crucial details from an interview from one of the engineers behind that panel.
As it turns out, merely removing the opaque backing from an OLED panel isn’t enough to make it transparent. In order for an OLED panel to become transparent, the circuitry in the pixel layer and TFT layer need to be aligned as best as possible to allow for many, many tiny holes to be punched through the display.
Looking at [Linus]’s experiences with the LG prototype, it does appear that this kind of technology would be highly suitable for signage purposes, while also allowing for something like an invisible television or display in a room that could be placed in front of a painting or other decoration. Once displaying an image, the screen is bright enough that you can comfortably make out the image. Just don’t put any bright lights behind the TV.
Anyone else anxious waiting for sub-10″ versions of these panels?
Continue reading “Transparent OLED Hitting The Market With Xiaomi’s Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition”