Let's talk about Mobile Phone Eyewear

I believe that see-through displays are going to be used for mobile phones. That's one of the reasons why I've been excited about Microvision for so long. The evolution of mobile phones has been going in the direction of eyewear displays pretty much as soon as they added screens.

The simplest benefit was described by Bill Gates when he first saw our wearable displays, and I've printed this before:

"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."

So, the way I look at it the guy who is without a doubt one of the most successful businessmen and pioneers in information technology is telling you how to use your product.

He's also telling you there's a BIG market for your product.

That is not lost on me. I think he's absolutely right. Recent validation of our Color Eyewear technology was our recent award by the Government to provide a lightweight, see-through, full-color eyewear display prototype. I believe, and our customers believe that we have a good path to providing this capability.

What the ultimate value of eyewear displays are remains to be determined. For me, it's a straight line between all the things I've described about AR and, you know, all the work that's being done with it presently, and it just reinforces what I've been saying all along that it seems obvious.

Phones are very small, but they can now display mobile movies, tv and video content, at high speed and high (getting higher) video quality. The screen is too small to give a good user experience. So, you need eyewear or a projector for the entire industry to gain the most benefit -- starting with the end user.

So, you just need the right technology for high video quality, see-through eyewear that looks cool and feels comfortable to wear, designed for use with your mobile phone.

They should never sacrifice MOBILITY. That's why non see-through displays I believe are inherently limited.

I believe that see-through eyewear will coincide with a rising tide of 3D software development that focuses around the USER'S location, accessed by a mobile phone. (Virtual reality will happen and most certainly be huge, but it will be in the short term less useful than AUGMENTED REALITY.)

AR is the merging of the digital space and real space. It's putting digital information in mid-air instead of on your computer screen.

But you have to have the right technology to benefit from this.

We can draw 30 million pixels per second with our thin-mint ('sugar piece') sized PicoP. The effect is incredibly vibrant and unlike any other display you've ever seen. We draw our picture in NANOSECONDS instead of milliseconds. The smoothness is incomparable. This tiny color projector is going to be the key component of Eyewear. It will be coupled with new 'thin' optics to make lightweight see-through eyewear displays.

Our goal continues to be to have cool, mobile see-through eyewear as well as cool, mobile picoprojector products in the market for private viewing as well as sharing of information.


  1. Very encouraging. Thanks

  2. Hi Ben,

    I want to start off by saying that your passion and focus on what you believe is palpable and that is a beautiful way to live life. I wish your family the best and admire the lofty ideals you follow.

    I have been meaning to talk to you about what I feel is a social yearning in our society and market place. The segment specifically that I would like to address is fitness and the mental health aspects that surround it. In our country there has always been Fitness Centers such as 24 hour Fitness, Bally's, etc. where we tend to do a lot of our excercising. The environment inside these Fitness centers, in my opinion, have always been static and not condusive to optimal excercise and positive mental conditioning. Next time you are riding an Elliptical machine take a look around, you will notice the majority of people are staring at each other while they excersise because their is nothing else to focus on. Even though they have there IPODS on there is still an extremely significant amount of staring and judging of others while you are excerising. It is hard for anyone not to get caught up in and it ends up being a negative component in what is supossed to be a 100% positive experience.. Fitness companys such as Equinox are trying to create more condusive environments for a positive experience while excersising but there is still that static sense of "people watching" and "gazing" at each other.

    Microvision's technology should and will change all of this with "cool" color eyewear. Not only will you be able to experience a completely individual therapy of excercise by displaying whatever video(movies, music videos,etc.) or setting while working out, you will also be able to social network with other people in the gym without having to initiate a conversation with them. You could have the option of whether you want to engage in the Social Network of the gym. So if you put on your Color Eyewear and agree to log in to the Social Network of the gym, then others in the netrwork can view your profile, watch the same music videos in you playlist,etc. This allows you to look at people in an entirely positive and different way. All of a sudden the Gym has become an environment that is extremly dynamic and engaging. Also, the aestetics of the Gym can be more urban and hip with out all the "cheezy" bright colors. You can get whatever fix you need with your eyewear. I personally would love to walk into a gym with earthy colors and an urban feel where I can network in and ride the "Tour de France" while listening to Sting with others if I or they choose.

    Question: If the Color Eye Wear is "See-through" can you watch a Movie or Video as well? Would there be a seperate setting for Social Networking vs. watching a video?

    Thanks again,

  3. Hi Ben,
    Do you know at this point if there is any chance that MVIS technology will have the ability to be added to standard prescription glasses? It may not be easy to do, but it seems like it would be a big market with people who are already use to wearing glasses all day long.

  4. Just affraid that people (especially tweeny-boppers) will be driving automobiles while watching MTV through display glasses. People would no doubt die as a result. I'm n favor of some distinctive design charateristic that will identify such HUD glasses as such. Might be good for branding purposes anyway.

  5. I want to vote for the printer/scanner as tthe most interesting development.

  6. What would be excellent for this technology would be some kind of device which can be embedded into the glasses so when you are moving in a car the glasses automatically do not allow movies to be played, like a motion detector used in cars, you know convertibles have a feature built from the factory where some car roofs cannot open and close while the car is moving at a specific speed, This would be excellent for the color eye wear, without this feature you may get a generation of careless drivers, it is not expensive and would not cause much of a price increase per unit with a motion sensor in, this is especially good for investors because one blow to the company with accidents and it could all be over so motion detectors in the glasses would be the best to disable movie mode and have only augmented reality for the car heads up display, this would work very well, what are your thoughts Ben?

    Also whats the news on Virtual reality HMD's using the MEMS and PicoP?

    Will you have fully occluded wrap around full human visual field of view VR HMD's anytime soon HD 1080P, Wireless HDMI Version 1.3, and dolby digital 5.1 surround sound headphones. Have you made a prototype yet? Whats on the drawing boards?

  7. To Brent, re: social networking. Great great ideas. We are investigating some promising methods to selectively darken the lenses to suit different applications (social networking vs. movie watching, etc.)

    Interesting ideas re: eyewear for in car use. I guess the challenge would be not inhibitng the passengers' use of eyewear even though they're traveling at the same rate of speed as the driver...

  8. Ben,

    I was surprised to hear this comment from Mr. Tokman regarding an embedded cell phone contract:

    "You know, the discussions right now are related to commercialization strategy. Are you going to take it out, what is the-- how do you divide IP, how do you divide license fees. All of these necessary details you need to conclude before you sign a long term deal."

    Can you expand on this a little? I thought MVIS goal was to provide OEM's with a finished IPM. The OEM would just have to provide space for it and plug it into a power supply upon assembly. Why is there intelluctual property and licensing fee's involved if MVIS is manufacturing the whole projector device? It's quite confusing.

    Thanks for any input.

  9. I can't comment on this.

    Best to write to ir@microvision.com


  10. Ben, so the glasses will indeed be able to both be an "information dispaly" as well as a medium to be able to watch a high quality movie on?

  11. cdt2001:

    Yes, that's the plan.

  12. Ben will the information display be able to be used with PC and games consoles for 3d gaming?

  13. I think Eyewear will enhance driving - besides giving visual directions, it will provide animated signs to draw the driver's attention to warn of dangers. It will monitor a person's eyelids and sound a warning if they droop too long. Video cameras in the glasses will detect infrared (eg. pedestrians or wildlife at night)

    Eventually cars will not even start unless you provide them with identification (Eyewear will scan your retinas for this). If your licence is suspended, or if you don't have permission to drive the car, it will not start, etc. And yes, if you are the designated driver, it won't let you watch movies or read email.

  14. Hi Ben,

    I really appreciate the response. Please know that a lot of us loyal Microvision fans understand this stuff takes time and we are willing to wait for the this "killer ap". If you folks are able to achieve this platform for "video display" and "social networking", it will literally change the world we live in. I personally believe that the benefits will far out weigh the negatives. Good luck with this journey. I believe! Brent


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