Japan-based Firms Showcase Glasses-type Displays

Mar 2, 2013
Hideki Matsumoto, Nikkei Personal Computer
The "Laser Head Set" was co-developed by Fujitsu, the University of Tokyo and QD Laser.
The "Laser Head Set" was co-developed by Fujitsu, the University of Tokyo and QD Laser.
[Click to enlarge image]
At this point, laser light is sent from the laser unit (left) to the headset via a cable.
At this point, laser light is sent from the laser unit (left) to the headset via a cable.
[Click to enlarge image]
The "Viking" head-mounted display (HMD) exhibited by BrilliantService
The "Viking" head-mounted display (HMD) exhibited by BrilliantService
[Click to enlarge image]
The screen of the Viking was displayed on a personal computer. It can be operated by making gestures.
The screen of the Viking was displayed on a personal computer. It can be operated by making gestures.
[Click to enlarge image]
A mock-up of a future model of the HMD
A mock-up of a future model of the HMD
[Click to enlarge image]

Two Japan-based firms exhibited glasses-type displays at Mobile World Congress 2013, a trade show about mobile devices, which took place from Feb 25 to 28, 2013.

Currently, the "Google Glass," a glasses-type display developed by Google Inc, is gathering attention. But the exhibited displays, when completed, might become rivals to the Google Glass.

Laser Head Set
The "Laser Head Set," which was exhibited in Fujitsu Ltd's booth, displays video by applying laser light to the user's retinas instead of showing video on the lenses of the glasses. Laser light is sent from an external laser unit to the headset via a cable.

A device that scans the retinas with laser light is stored in the left front part of the headset. And it scans the retinas from top down to show video like a CRT-based TV set.

Though laser light is applied to the eyes, it does not do harm to the eyes because its output is low. At the trade show, a cartoon film was displayed with the headset. When I tried it on, the film appeared as if it was superimposed on my sight.

The Laser Head Set was co-developed by Fujitsu, the University of Tokyo and QD Laser Inc, which is a Japan-based firm that develops laser diodes for industrial use and communications. At Mobile World Congress 2014, they plan to show a headset that looks like glasses more than the one exhibited this time.

Viking
The other Japan-based firm that showcased a glasses-type display is BrilliantService Co Ltd, which is known for the development of the NFC Quest service. It developed the "Viking" head-mounted display (HMD). When the HMD is worn, icons, etc appear as if they are superimposed on the user's sight.

On the upper part of the glasses, there is a range sensor similar to the one used for the Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360. And the HMD can be operated by making gestures. For example, applications can be launched by moving a finger as if it is pressing an icon. Also, it is possible to take a call by folding index, middle and ring fingers.

Third-party developers will be able to develop applications for the Viking by using Objective-C. BrilliantService plans to reduce the size and weight of the HMD so that they become almost the same as those of normal glasses. At the show, the company exhibited a mock-up of a future model of the HMD, planning to commercialize it in three to five years.