With the advent of head mounted displays such as Google Glass and Oculus Rift, I thought I should have a stab at it, this project is called Secondsight and consists of an Android ROM and a 3D Printable Headmount, and utilizes your smartphone to give you a whole vision display. You can view 3D Model here on github, or peruse the android rom code. Everything is open source.
Whole Vision Displays
If you have tried Google Glass - it's very unsatisfying, but I love the idea - wearable personal computing, transparent computing that overlays your vision will be the future. I'm sure of it. Secondsight takes the power of Android, the mobile operating system and overlays it over your vision - and it does it using your existing smartphone. To me it's a wonderous idea, you could watch youtube or pullup navigation while your out in public, enter virtual reality worlds, overlay 3d reconstruction of existing world - have completely digital products in the form of augmented reality.
I imagine something like the "iphone 10" being a completely digital product you perceive through your hmd, no more manufacturing costs, easily updatable and expandable.
Future phones will be bendable, 4k screens and 4k cameras, giving rise to a more than pleasurable whole-vision 'desktop experience' so theres little reason to reinvent the wheel with dedicated hardware and they will be lighter.
Control can be done with Thalmic MYO (I'm on the alpha program, can't wait to get my hands on one), Finger based tracking, voice commands(less appealing to me).
5 months onwards
The reason I started doing Secondsight as a hobby, it was an escape from a very stressful time in my main business, and unfortunatly my main business while quite profitable, ended up consuming my life and eroded my will, another story entirely. Anyway this stress found me seeking a 180 degree solution to the business models I operated in.
I therefore became very interested in the idea of peer-based production, FOSS, and maybe contribute to society in some small way, I read almost every book from the p2pfoundation book store. However I found this path to be very difficult to take - for me, unless you have a huge following of talented programmers, just does not work.
Outside the impracticalities of peer-production, theres a few problems with bringing this to market:
- Absolutely no startup budget.
- No existing market, high costs in creating/educating a market.
- No direct path to monetization (solvable through subscriptions on software, advertising and sales on hardware)
- and finally, let's face it, form factor.
The first 2 I figured I could work on by finding like-minded people to work on it collaboratively, however for me, this is much harder than it sounds.
I did manage to present Secondsight at InsideAR conference in Munich. It was well received and alot of fun! Enjoy this quick Youtube video of a fan walking around the conference wearing it;
But I think ultimately the reason I didn't push this any further was the form factor, what person in their right mind is going to wear a bulky square on their face? I made it open source so people could customize it for themselves, but our current smartphone technology just isn't there yet.
In short I learnt alot about Android internals, I also learnt alot about 3D printing, my next interest in 3D printing is in bioprinting, I'll be looking to work with the Open Wetlab at WAAG into hacking my Ultimaker 1 into a prototype Bioprinter!
Most technologies these days have a problem with power consumption, we desperatly need better materials for energy storage, or some radically different way of producing/consuming energy.
How do I see wearable computing in the future? Well theres a few options:
- High resolution displays and phones designed for the face (dual cameras and optics)
- Bright transparent OLED displays
- Visual Prosthesis (Sheila Nirenbergs retinal optogenics gene therapy seems super fascinating)
I'm going to keep my eye on this but have no plans to resume this unless I can find other people interested in the idea.