May 27, 2003 - iApplianceWeb
SID: MicroOptical adds Bluetooth, binocular eyewear

By Bernard Cole
(05/27/03, 12:56:41 PM EDT)

Baltimore, Maryland -- MicroOptical Corp. has enhanced its line-up of eyewear technologies and products for a variety of portable entertainment and iA applications with Bluetooth connectivity and true binocular vision. The new capabilities were demonstrated at the Society for Information Display Conference here.

The Bluetooth product is is DV-1 Digital Viewer, a color eyewear system featuring Bluetooth which will be available to application providers and systems integrators in mid-June as a developer's kit, offers wireless, hands-free and head-up viewing of electronic devices. MicroOptical will provide a application programmers interface that facilitates rendering of images to the display.

“The DV-1 viewer is MicroOptical's first digital wireless eyewear viewer,†said Mark Spitzer, CEO of MicroOptical. “The 12-bit VGA color display, which is capable of handling both bit map and text input shows images from compatible PDAs and PCs via Bluetooth short-range wireless specification.

The developer's kit includes a protocol for transmitting images over a Bluetooth serial link. A driver is used in the transmitting device to send the serialized image to the DV-1 viewer, which in turn receives the output signal from the Bluetooth-enabled electronic device and projects images through a patented optical system that allows the user to maintain natural vision and awareness of the environment.

To overcome the current bandwidth limitations of Bluetooth which prevent the transmission of high quality video images, MicroOptical has come of with some proprietary "work-arounds" to make the transfer as quick as possible.

"On the receiver end inside the eyewear, we have incorporated a frame buffer," said Spitzer,"so that the image in the eyewear is constantly replayed at a rate that does not cause flicker. Since a frame buffer is used, only the portion of the image that requires updating needs to be sent to the eyewear."

Segments of the image are sent with an address and are painted into the frame buffer at the correct locations. In this way, he said, mouse motion may be updated quickly. "In addition, to conserve bits, the application may specify a color palette," said Spitzer, "meaning that the bits per pixel may be adjusted as needed to conserve bandwidth. In a strict sense this is neither compression nor acceleration, yet it helps get the job done. Adding true compression and acceleration could make it yet faster. "

Also introduced at SID was the company's Binocular Viewer OEM evaluation kit, which features see-around optics with embedded opaque mirrors, gives users the impression of a color monitor floating a few feet in front of them. The aim of the evaluation kit, said Spitzer, is to allow OEMs to test the potential of the Binocular Viewer for offering hands-free, head-up, portable, private and non-immersive viewing of text, graphic and video information from a broad range of industrial, medical and consumer devices.

He said the company is offering several versions of its Binocular Viewer OEM evaluation kit, including a stereo version capable of 3D demonstrations. All kits include an NTSC interface that alternatively can be configured by MicroOptical for PAL.

MicroOptical's Binocular Viewer OEM Evaluation Kit is currently available at a unit price of $4,000. For more information, go to


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