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Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
Bosch Smartglasses use lasers to paint an augmented reality (AR) directly onto the retina of your eye. The image is always in focus. The Smartglasses connect to your cellphone for information.
A custom fitting is necessary is because of how the glasses work. Rather than projecting an image onto the lenses of the glasses themselves, the Bosch “Light Drive” uses a tiny microelectromechanical mirror array to direct a trio of lasers (red, green, and blue) across a transparent holographic element embedded in the right lens, which then reflects the light into your right eye and paints an image directly onto your retina. For this to work, the lasers have to pass cleanly through your pupil, which means that the frame and lenses have to be carefully fitted to the geometry of your face (frames with prescription lenses work fine)...
As soon as the contextual display is turned on, you see a bright, sharp, colorful image hanging right out in front of you. The concept video doesn’t really do it justice—it looks great...
The system is not meant to depict Magic Leap-style giant animated whales or whatever, which I’m totally fine with. It’s intended to display little bits of helpful information when you need them.
The reviewer's article of the prototype devices at IEEE Spectrum is detailed and pretty enthusiastic. For those of us who were present at 2012 Google I/O's famous skydiving demonstration (see Google Glass: The Next Big Platform?, this Bosch device might actually fulfill the promise of that device.
Science fiction readers recall predictions like the overlay specs from Charles Stross' 2007 novel Halting State or the videoshades from Bruce Sterling's 1988 novel Islands in the Net.
The idea of projecting an image directly on the retina is older, for science fiction fans. Check out retinal projection from Pohl and Kornbluth's wonderful 1952 novel The Space Merchants.
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