Sunday, 9 August 2009

DataGlasses

I spent a few hours this weekend working on another project...

I've been interested in HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) for a while - it started as part of my job - and I got started with alternative input devices, mainly keyboards and mice when I suffered from RSI/carpal tunnel.

When I read about dataglasses (courtesy of the most excellent writer Charles Stross) I was fascinated. I wanted some. They sounded like such a good idea - a logical extension of wearable computer use, a real integration of the things computers are good at to provide a useful tool.

For the uninitiated, dataglasses are basically sunglasses with an integrated computer display - providing a head-up display - add in net access, camera to provide face recognition, clever software, and you start to get some really cool capabilities. I'll leave it to Mr. Stross to explain the details (and possible problems) in his book Accelerando.

Since no manufacturer seems to be producing them yet, I'll have to build my own.

Components:
MyVu MA049 Solo Plus personal media glasses
Old laptop with composite video out
An iphone headphone adaptor plug (Any 4-wire 3.5mm plug will do - like a normal headphone plug but with 3 divisions not 2)
Two or more webcams.

Phase 1:
Get the computer display onto the glasses display.
Actually a bit harder than it sounds - the glasses only come with an Ipod lead (at least the £45 I bought on ebay) and the extra connectors kit is out of stock. It's basically a 4-pole 3.5mm stereo jack, like a headphone plug, to phono plugs.

I found an 'iphone' headphone adaptor in a charity shop which had a 4-pole 3.5mm plug - so a bit of modding is in order.

I investigated the output from the Ipod lead and I think I've sorted the signals.

MyVu Solo plus pinout
4-pole 3.5mm plug

Tip - Left
Ring 1 - Right
Ring 2 - A/V Ground
Ring 3 - Video

I've hooked up the wires with some of my shonky soldering, but it's refusing to play ball so far. The glasses claim to be missing the video signal.

It's still a work in progress....

3 comments:

Pat Galea said...

Watch out for the squids! :-)

Renoir said...

Updated - Using a 4-pole plug from maplins works: using the gold-plated 4-pole plug from the iphone adaptor doesn't. Go figure?

Pedro Pinheiro said...

With the amount of processing power we can get nowadays in very light and small packages (the latest iPod Touch, for instance), plus tiny screens, cameras, and efficient batteries, I think it's possible to design (from scratch) a pair of glasses not very different from normal reading glasses (or sunglasses).