German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems have embedded a head-mounted microdisplay into a pair of glasses—allowing the user to access and manipulate data with simple eye movements.
The [CMOS] chip measuring 19.3 by 17 millimeters is fitted on the prototype eyeglasses behind the hinge on the temple. From the temple the image on the microdisplay is projected onto the retina of the user so that it appears to be viewed from a distance of about one meter. The image has to outshine the ambient light to ensure that it can be seen clearly against changing and highly contrasting backgrounds. For this reason the research scientists use OLEDs, organic light-emitting diodes, to produce microdisplays of particularly high luminance.
Wearers could scroll through menus, shift elements and pull up new info by simply focusing on a particular area or moving their eyes in a specific way. The researchers envision this technology proving useful for doctors and engineers somewhere down the line, but you and I both know that if and when something like this becomes readily available, there will be millions of hipster Geordi La Forges out there inundating the world's coffee shops and Apple Stores. [Fraunhofer via Fast Company]