Xiaomi unveils Smart Glasses with built in microLED display
Image credit: xiaomi
A pair of 'Smart Glasses' that house sensors and a display have been unveiled by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.
The Xiaomi Smart Glasses use “microLED optical waveguide technology” to beam an image onto one of the glasses lenses, which users can then use to check their messages and notifications; make calls; navigate; capture photos, and translate text.
Xiaomi said it opted to use microLEDs because allowed for a petite imaging system that could fit seamlessly into the frame. MicroLEDs are an emerging display technology that combine the benefits of both LCDs and OLED displays, although they are not yet in mass production.
The technology uses individually lit pixels that allows for brighter displays and deeper blacks. They also have a higher pixel density and longer lifespan while having a simpler structure which allows for a more compact display.
Under a microscope, the display is roughly the size of a grain of rice, with individual pixels sized at 4μm, enabling it to be fitted perfectly within the frame of the glasses. To allow sufficient light to pass through complicated optical structures before reaching the eye even in harsh direct sunlight, Xiaomi opted for an ultra-efficient monochrome display which is capable of reaching a peak brightness of 2 million nits.
Optical waveguide technology is used to refract light at 180° so that the display can accurately transmit light beams to the human eye through the microscopic grating structure of the lens. The grating structure etched onto the inner surface of the lens allows light to be refracted in a unique way, directing it safely into the human eye.
The refraction process involves bouncing light beams countless times, allowing the human eye to see a complete image. This process is carried out inside a single lens, instead of using complicated multiple lens systems, mirrors or half mirrors.
The Smart Glasses can also independently complete functions such as navigation; taking photos; teleprompter, and real-time text and photo translations, without even being linked to a smartphone, according to the company.
Xiaomi said it has incorporated an AI assistant that pushes only the most important messages and notifications to the wearer so they are not spammed with a constant stream of pop-up notifications.
The device runs on a customised version of the Android operating system and is powered by an unspecified quad-core ARM processor. It also features a touch pad and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth functionality.
Google famously attempted a similar device called Google Glass, which launched in 2012. The device was eventually a flop, with minimal consumer interest and a high price tag. Its camera proved controversial due to the privacy implications and it was derided for having an unappealing visual design for a device that would be so prominently worn by the user.
In 2017, a redesigned version of the Glass hardware specifically tailored for workplaces was unveiled.
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