Retinal Display 'Glyph' Headset Coming to the U.S. Market

Feb 6, 2014 11:00 AM PST

ANN ARBOR, MI — A new headset that projects video directly on users' retinas and allows them to view digital content from any device with a screen is headed for the U.S. market.

The “Glyph” headset from Michigan-based Avegant was introduced at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and has launched a Kickstarter campaign that has already raised more than $1 million.

"We knew we had something really cool and that we'd do well on Kickstarter, but nobody thought we'd hit our goal in less than four hours," Edward Tang, Avegant's CEO told CNN. "It's like ordering flowers for your girlfriend and they show up with a whole truck full of flowers."

Likened to a little theater in front of the eyes, the virtual retinal display technology behind Glyph is reportedly based on a set of 2 million microscopic mirrors (1 million per eye) that reflect visuals, including 3-D, into the user's eye.

Users simply connect the Glyph to their device — laptop, TV, mobile phone, gaming console — and watch on the headset instead of the screen.

Unlike Google Glass, and its current inherent content development challenges, Glyph is turnkey —  allowing users to watch any content they want. Tang said that although Google Glass is compelling, he thinks it isn’t completely practical. Glyph is focused on streaming content right now, like video games, music and movies.

"I think Google Glass is really interesting ... (but) I think it's a couple years away," Tang said. "If you ask people what they're doing with their devices today, they're streaming Netflix, they're playing video games and they're listening to music. We created a device that really focused on those aspects."

The wearable tech headset also includes high-end, noise canceling headphones and has a three-hour battery life. In order to avoid the geeky “glasshole” look of other headsets, Glyph was created to look like headphones with a flip-down eyepiece.

Besides the obvious porn content benefit, the Glyph folks have opened the device to outside developers in hopes of finding new features like head-tracking technology. This could also open doors for clever adult developers that have traditionally been on the cutting edge of technology with trailblazing innovations like virtual sex haptic uses.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through Feb. 21 and those who contribute will be able to get the headset for $499. A new streamlined, smaller and lighter version than the current prototype is expected when the device ships later this year.

 

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