Email in your eye? Next-generation video screen glasses could lay messages or GPS over your field of vision

By Gavin Allen

As advances in computer technology make gadgets ever smaller and more portable the idea of carrying a screen of any kind could soon be outdated.

Consumer products with screens have dropped in size from computer to laptop to tablet via phone.

But one company specialising in cutting edge visual technology waIsraeli company Lumus has shown off the PD-18-2, which may look like a cumbersome pair of shades but allow the user to see high-quality images while they walk.nts to beam information directly into your field of vision.

Translucent TV: Lumus' PD-18-2 is a set of spectacles that can beam high-quality images directly into your eyes but allows the user to see through the images tooTranslucent TV: Lumus’ PD-18-2 is a set of spectacles that can beam high-quality images directly into your eyes but allows the user to see through the images too

Instant messaging: Text and icons can be laid over your field of vision so that users can work on the moveInstant messaging: Text and icons can be laid over your field of vision so that users can work on the move

Lumus, an Israeli company, specialises in what it calls Light-guide Optical Element (LOE) technology.

It’s latest product is the PD-18-2, which may look to the untrained eye like a cumbersome pair of sunglasses.  

But inside the lenses of the glasses, the user can see high-quality full colour images.

 Products like this are already on the market for professional and military use, but where the next-generation PD-18-2 differs is that users can see though the spectacles too, instead of having the images block their vision.

The translucent lenses allow for what the manufacturer calls ‘augmented vision’, overlaying images or graphics over your usual field of vision.

They are designed for professionals such as pilots, surgeons and soldiers but there are hopes that it can be adapted for the consumer market so people could watch film or TV on the move, or play video games as they walk around.

How it works: Lumus speciaises in what it calls LOE technology - Light-guide Optical ElementHow it works: Lumus speciaises in what it calls LOE technology – Light-guide Optical Element

Heavy duty: The spectacles have to contain the technology, which currently makes them more cumbersome than your average shadesHeavy duty: The spectacles have to contain the technology, which currently makes them more cumbersome than your average shades

It works by collecting image components from a micro display and projects them into the eye to create a large virtual image with SVGA resolution

‘Following the successful deployment of our first generation PD-18-1 in combat aviation, ground soldier and assembly applications, we are pleased to release our next generation PD-18-2 that takes our competitive superiority to a whole new level,’ said Dr. Eli Glikman.

‘Our new display offers even higher brightness, increased contrast ratio, sharper image, improved image uniformity and enhanced optical efficiency.’

The company currently sells its products to aviation companies as well as military, medical and maintenance markets.

Contact lens: The electronic attachments to the 'glass' contains a mini-projector to beam the images into your eyelineContact lens: The electronic attachments to the ‘glass’ contains a mini-projector to beam the images into your eyeline

But the possibility of a move into the consumer market has already brought mixed reactions from technology watchers.

It could be extremely useful as a portable GPS system, but there are concerns that it could be distracting for pedestrians who can often be seen walking round with their heads buried in mobile phones.

One commenter, Erin Altman, wrote in a technology forum: ‘Bad idea alert! Just like hands-free devices for cell phones, these things will give people a false sense of security. They will THINK they can still see what’s going on around them but will be way too focused on the display instead.’

Another commenter wrote: ‘It’s bad enough already that people walk around texting and on the cell phones… an example of the DOWNSIDE of technology.’