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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Heads-Up Display In My Glasses

Comments (34)

I’ve worn glasses since I was three years old. I was trying to look at something on my iPad yesterday without them on and I heard Amy burst out laughing with “you really can’t see a thing without your glasses.” True – my eyes are defective. I’ve contemplated getting LASIK’s a few times but chickened out each time – if 42 years of glasses have worked, I expect another 42 will be just fine.

For years I’ve fantasized about getting glasses that have a heads-up display (HUD) integrated into them. This HUD would be connected to a computer somehow, which would of course be connected to the Internet, which would then give me access to whatever I wanted through my glasses. I can’t remember a sci-fi movie over the past decade that didn’t have this technology available and since my jetpack now seems like it’s finally around the corner (I’m hoping to get one for my 46th birthday), I have hope for my HUDglasses.

The pieces finally exist since I’m carrying a computer in my pocket (my iPhone or my Android) that’s always connected to the Internet. My glasses just need bluetooth to pair with my phone, an appropriate display, a processor, a camera, and the right software. Optimally I could control it via a spatial operating environment like Oblong’s g-speak.

I’m interested in investing in a team going after this. The magic will be on the software side – I want to work with folks that believe the hardware will be available, can integrate existing products, are comfortable with consumer electronics products, but are obsessed with “assembling the hardware” and “hacking the software.”

If this is you, or someone you know, please aim them at me. In the mean time, I tried to hunt down Tony Stark but don’t have his email address.

  • http://www.chriskurdziel.com/ Chris Kurdziel

    Brad,

    Not sure if you have seen these, but there are a pair of ski goggles that do have a HUD in them…

    http://www.reconinstruments.com/partners.htm

    Might be a good place to start.

    • http://twitter.com/POBANDO007 Patrick Obando

      I won a pair of these last in November at the Warren Miller show.  Definitely something I wouldn’t have purchased for myself, but the tech is pretty cool.  I never knew I was breaking 50 MPH riding at Vail…

      I am more than happy to let you borrow them next ski season…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I just tried to buy these and they are sold out online until next
      season. I’m trying to hunt some down in the stores. These are awesome
      looking.

      • http://twitter.com/POBANDO007 Patrick Obando

        Brad, Happy Friday, I am willing to depart with mine.  I tested them out 1x at Vail this past season and was psyched with the performance.  I kept educating my buddy as we rode on the lifts as I provided stats on elevation, temperature, and speed as we cruised around the resort.  

        Shoot me a DM and we’ll figure out a time to meet up…

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Awesome. I’m having some weird problem following you to DM you – drop me a note at brad@feld.com

  • Ty Danco, nearsighted in VT

    I can see the nerds competing for biggest pairs of glasses. Now I’ve got to go find those old Aviator style frames from 1980…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Think of all the nerd style opportunities!

  • http://twitter.com/billg Bill Geiser

    Hey Brad, there’s definitely a lot going on in the wearable category; with watches & eyewear leading the charge. We’ve focused on the wrist since 2004, but we have much in common with our eyewear brethren. Here are a few axioms we believe to be true:

    1.The computer (connected to a super
    computer) in our pocket we call a phone will make the personal area
    network a true reality. As a result, we’ll soon be walking around with many processors.
    2. Only a few of those processors we
    wear/carry we use will actually have displays. The rest will use
    whichever interface (screen) is the most convenient for the type of task
    we want to accomplish.
    3. The wrist & eyewear are the most convenient, technically feasible, and socially acceptable locations on the body for a wearable display.
    4.Wearable technology will only succeed if it is fully integrated with fashion design. You carry a device, you wear fashion. Almost everyone over looks this. IMO, this is where the real magic must first take place.
    5.For this category to take off it must offer a lot more value than the effort required to use it. Convenience and simplicity rule.

    The bad news: this is crazy hard to do. One of the reasons you do not see many people experiment with wearable technology at a consumer level is that it is really, really
    difficult. It requires battery operated, ultra-low power embedded
    firmware, best of breed hardware, complex PCB design, difficult antenna
    engineering, industrialization, scalable manufacturing, fashion design
    and materials, regulatory certifications, embedded Bluetooth, etc. An even bigger issue – distribution. Selling technology through expensive, fashion retail outlets presents many problems.

    The good news: all these problems are being addressed and we’ll soon see breakthroughs on all fronts. Happy to discuss further if you’d like.
    @billg:twitter 

  • http://termpaperwriter.org/research_paper custom research paper

    Very interesting read indeed.

  • http://www.charliecrystle.com Charlie Crystle

    love the music. 

    I’d take a crack at it if I weren’t launching http://jawaya.comsome links: (Of course none of these have the form factor/design, but it’s clear the hardware’s easily available. )
    http://www.4iiii.com/http://www.instructables.com/id/Glasses-mounted-video-display-to-one-eye-turn-yo/
    –http://www.autosportcatalog.com/index.cfm?fa=p&pid=7055

    –http://www.reconinstruments.com/partners.htm

    –http://www.google.com/cse?cx=008032414425079535247%3Akplxrakvu20&q=heads+up+display&sa=Search&siteurl=makezine.com%2F

  • Greg Selvin

    Years ago I thought Microvision would capture a lot of this market.  They’re still at it, though I haven’t heard much about them lately.  Maybe it’s still too expensive for consumer use?  http://www.microvision.com/wearable_displays/index.html

    It seems clear there’s going to be a convergence of price-point and functionality in this regard.  I think we’ll know augmented reality has reached maturity when we start to have viruses that alter images and such.  “Argh, I have the Pink Elephant virus!  I never should have downloaded that App!”

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup – that’s one of the ones that I found when I was looking around.

  • Curt

    Get the high-end LASIK procedure, took a couple minutes and was the greatest $4000 i ever spent. As long as you don’t have a medical condition (diabetes, infection, or thin cornea) with a good doctor the success rate nearly 100%. With success being 20/20 vision or better.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      At this point I think it’s too late. I have too much astigmatism – the last time I was tested I was outside of the acceptable tolerance. Of course, that might have changed as the tech improved (it was a few years ago.)

  • http://philswenson.com Phil Swenson

    Lasik was the best money I ever spent.  Have had perfect vision for 12 years now.   Easy, quick, and close to painless.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Many people have told me that. But I also have a few friends that have had real problems. For some reason very few people talk about the struggles they have, especially at altitude with dry eyes and declining vision over time.

      That wasn’t my problem. I was just scared of 30 seconds with lasers.

      • http://philswenson.com Phil Swenson

        I have had zero issues myself.  Supposedly the techniques are better now as well.  

        My vision hasn’t changed at all, but it was stable (but crappy) before Lasik.  If your prescription tends to change over time, then you are more at risk of Lasik vision degrading over time.And everything has some risk I suppose…. they do make you sign reams of paperwork outlining all the risks (blindness, night vision issues, dry eye, etc)

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Yeah – my eyesight has steadily degraded every year since I was three.

  • http://twitter.com/mattmiesnieks Matt

    Brad, Vusix http://www.vuzix.com/home/  are the clear leader in this space. The augmented reality software to deliver the UX properly is truly hard. We’re going after this problem, and have the right team to do it (15yrs military AR software R&D with smartphones + eyeware, plus years of commercial experience in this space). I’ll follow-up via email, Matt

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Another vote for Vuzix!

  • http://twitter.com/jeffrodanski Jeff Rodanski

    That video is awesome! 

  • http://www.feed.us RacerRick

    Rearview camera, too.  For backing up!

  • http://www.chadkruse.com Chad Kruse

    Brad – my alma mater invested in a company 12 years ago focused on retinal displays…really cool technology, WAY ahead of its time. Not sure what happened to the company (DigiLens), but you should try to hook up with the founder (Jonathan Waldern). If nothing else, he’ll be a wealth of information as you conduct your diligence.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thanks. Hunting!

  • http://twitter.com/crashdev Chris DeVore

    Hi Brad – it’s more scifi not real tech, but this post made me think of Daniel Suarez’s two-book dystopian future series: Daemon and Freedom(TM). Members of the darknet (the good guys) can be identified by their super-cool HUD glasses. I just finished reading them and – with the usual scifi caveats for flat characters and implausible plot twists – they’re pretty fun…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I loved Daemon and Freedom(TM). Suarez is one of my favorite new scifi writers.

      • http://www.startupboyo.com/ RichardF

        step 1  – HUD Glasses – check !
        step 2 – hook up darknet
        step 3 – world domination

  • http://www.commun.it SharelOmer

    What a vision :)

    Good luck with it… its amazing to see you publicly share your vision and ready to support it.

  • Pete Wassell

    Hey Brad, I would encourage you to look at AUGMATE, this company has the complete vision (pun intended).  Check out the website link below, AUGMATE does the software side of AR glasses, however, they have also been approached by university optic labs that want to make their next generation see-through digital eyewear.  Best yet – AUGMATE just started approaching investors this past week!

    http://www.augmate.com/ 

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thanks. We’ve connected – good suggestion.

  • http://www.rossdawsonblog.com Ross Dawson

    Hi Brad, as far as I’m aware, what is in this video is concept-only – they do not exist.

    As mentioned by others, the best I’ve seen in true AR glasses are the Vuzix 920AR. 

    Note that the latest in HUD contact lenses have allowed 8 pixels to be embedded into contacts, so that’s looking promising…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I just got a set of the Recon Transcends. Pretty cool so far.

  • Spencer Barron

    Just getting caught up on my reading and noticed this.  Since we’re a already carrying the computers, it does make sense and reasonable to expect something in the near future.  As far as the software, I was thinking how developers working with hacking the Xbox 360 Kinect may be getting a head start with the sort of software that would be needed. 

  • Benson

    I’d be happy to work on this :) be awesome
    I’m always playing with far out ideas. Funny enough this kind of thing can be done.

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