Living the Dream

While I was at the airport in Las Vegas on Monday, waiting for my bag to come through the carousel, I checked my email on my cell phone as I frequently do. I got the following comment on one of the posts from that morning:

This is great Ben. Most of us can't be there and we are doing this vicariously through you. I appreciate your pictures and your notes about setting up. We all wish we were there helping set up and expriencing this. How does it feel being in the middle of your dream? -- Lawrence

That comment really struck me, and I've thought about it a lot over the week of the show, and since I got back.

How does it feel being in the middle of your dream?

I'm finding as I try to write the answer to this that it's hard to put into words. Of course, it was kind of a long story to get to this point. So, yeah, just to be a part of it is the fulfillment of a goal that drove me for a long time.

We spent the week at CES showing our technology to people from all over the world, and I can say from my experience demoing PicoP that the response was tremendous. So there's a pretty tangible sense of excitement and opportunity when you see people get really fired up that gets your senses buzzing and your adrenalin pumping. It's really something.

But my dream is a little more focused. It's not just about a successful Microvision selling phone projectors and automotive HUDs. My dream is about ubiquitous Color Eyewear. That's what excites me, that's what I care about and that's the opportunity that I'm chasing down.

The great news is that the prerequisite for the dream to come to life is the new 'thin mint'-sized IPM, and that prerequisite has been successfully achieved. By leveraging the outstanding work of Corning and Novalux to develop extremely small and low-power green lasers, and collaborating with our global ODM partners, we've achieved a display engine that can be embedded into a pair of fashion eyewear. At the same time, we're working on radical optical designs for lightweight eyewear that the new IPM is intended to plug into.

I'm really excited about the progress that we're making and I expect us to make some big strides over the course of this year. The guys working on this project are some of the smartest people I've ever been around. It's very stimulating to be around brilliant people every day.

I have to emphasize again that the biggest hurdle, the development of the miniature light engine, has been overcome. That's what going to make all the rest possible.

But it's not just about having a revolutionary technology -- no one really cares about technology itself. What people care about, I think, is being cool. Being connected. Knowing where they are, and where they're going. Having all their music, video, pictures, whatever -- available at all times. I think people will want to be able to show the world from their perspective, and see it from others', too. And I think there are some really big opportunities for new applications as the internet continues to become location-aware.

People derive a lot of their sense of identity from how they look, who they know, and their connection to culture and technology, whether it be as a jazz buff, as a blogger, as a sports fan, whatever. So the goal for Color Eyewear is to enhance and augment our connection and our ability to appreciate all of these things.

But it's probable that the biggest value-add of Color Eyewear will be the simple things that enhance the usability of mobile devices. Indeed, Bill Gates said it best, about Microvision's technology:
"The cost still needs to come down before this can be imminent, but if somebody's calling you, this could show you on the heads-up display who is calling. That would sure be better than going into your pocket and pulling out a phone."
In another 2005 interview, Mr. Gates went on to say:
"If we think of a cell phone even four years from now, it will have many new capabilities. It will be able to show you a map of your current location, not just a map in the traditional sense, but even a picture of the buildings, show you the routes that you want to go on, virtual reality indicating the current traffic conditions, indicating if there is any of your colleagues who are in the area that you might want to be in touch with, a sense of how long it's going to take you to travel there."

For obvious reasons, I've focused on these comments, especially the one about having caller ID on a pair of glasses -- and I've read just about everything else that Gates has had to say publicly about the advance of mobile technology. Gates' comments have served as important validation for me that the ideas about emerging consumer augmented reality applications that I've described many times over the course of writing this blog, are probably on-the-money. So I have a lot of confidence about the path we're on with Color Eyewear and the value we can bring to mobile users everywhere.

How does it feel being in the middle of your dream?

It's amazing. And it's ongoing. And I don't intend to wake up anytime soon!

Thanks to Lawrence.


  1. Ben,

    Thank you!

    Your post was inspirational and written with warmth and knowledge.

    Thank you for sharing.


  2. Ben,

    having been a reader of this blog all along, it's been amazing to see the progress made in this short time. I heard that you're targetting to launch Color Eyewear in 2009. Any comments on this?

    Best of luck to you!

  3. tradinggoddess is trying to kiss up after her earlier faux pas.

    LOL...we all forgive you, tradinggoddess!


  4. Ben,
    thanks for the great thoughts and writing...
    "ubiquitous Color Eyewear"..that is well put.
    color eyewear will allow people who wears them to quickly gather all the information they need effortlessly and make inform decision based on them. the value added will be tremendous....

    I have the vision one day I will be walking into Gap and a virtual personel (boardcast by the store) will show up in my eyewear to greet me and show me the way to product section i was looking for...
    Heck, the same thing could be implemented on their web portal too..
    the possibility is unlimited.

    thank you Ben, i wouldn't have hang around this long if it wasn't for your inspirational writing, especially during the tough time...

    we look forward to more development information...

    by the way, did you see cellphone maker at the picop demo?

    best wishes to you and your family..


  5. You guys! Ben must use discretion in his comments -- but, as always, he will keep us up to date with appropriate comments according to his best judgment!


  6. thanks so much for these great comments, everybody! I appreciate them a lot. stay tuned...!

  7. Ben,
    Do you know if mvis has a strong IP protection on PicoP? and also how about augmented reality glasses? I mean do you know of any independent IP studies that have been done that allows mvis to be the only player. A detailed comment will be really appreciated.
    thank you

  8. I just watched a video from PC Magazine in which they discuss the IPM. Boy, they barely have a clue about it. They like it but they figure it is only for cellphones! Here's the url:,1895,2081931,00.asp

  9. Ben,
    why don't you hustle down the hall and ask them how they are coming along on that hot little printer, eh?


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