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Programming a Wearable Android Device

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the get-geordi's-advice dept.

Android 53

CowboyRobot writes "Dr. Dobb's reviews an alternative to Google Glass and goes through the steps of coding your own Android-based Heads-Up Display. 'By tucking their 428x240 pixel WQVGA heads-up display in the lower right corner of ski goggles, Recon has effectively created an unobtrusive HUD with a decent 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor running Android 2.3.3 (Eclair). Network connections can be made via a Bluetooth-paired Android smartphone.'"

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Microsoft Research (1, Offtopic)

CoolToe (2732573) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377149)

Let's not forget that Microsoft Research [microsoft.com] has done remarkable job at discovering and developing real life HUDs. For example back in 2004 Bill Gates himself assigned the goal of

Re:Microsoft Research (-1, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377269)

Awww, did you lose your train of thought, you asspie trollbag?

Re:Microsoft Research (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 2 years ago | (#41379585)

Did I wander onto 4chan? This is trolls, trolling trolls!

Re:Microsoft Research (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377323)

Let's not forget that Microsoft Research [microsoft.com] has done remarkable job at discovering and developing real life HUDs. For example back in 2004 Bill Gates himself assigned the goal of

I think you are confused with FUD research.

Re:Microsoft Research (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377621)

Remember the old MS Slashdot icon? That was Bill wearing one of these!

How would HUD even work? (1)

CoolToe (2732573) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377179)

How would HUD even work since your eyes need to focus on elements between far and close? Would you need to focus on the HUD? Does glasses work the same way? Could some nerd with glasses explain how do you focus on things?

Re:How would HUD even work? (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377295)

How would HUD even work since your eyes need to focus on elements between far and close? Would you need to focus on the HUD? Does glasses work the same way? Could some nerd with glasses explain how do you focus on things?

I don't focus on the glasses lens, I focus on whatever object I'm looking at, the light reflected from which is modified by the structure of the lens.

HUD I don't know about, but can tell you, focusing on something an inch in infront of your eye is near impossible, so whatever a HUD does it must project like the image is at a distance. Probably works great for people with good eyesight already, but us aging geeks may require some adjustment as the old eyes don't want to focus up close like they once did.

Re:How would HUD even work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377883)

The good systems project onto your eye, to bypass any focus and field of view issues.

As for this article, I have no idea how anyone would consider ski goggles with a big LCD device in the lower right, "unobtrusive".

Re:How would HUD even work? (4, Informative)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377721)

Typically, the image project into the HUD is "Focused" optically at (or close to) "Infinity". Try asking the US Air Force how that works out for them (rather well, actually), as they've been using it in fighter planes for decades now.

Re:How would HUD even work? (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#41378461)

Presumably that would require curved lenses (parabolic) reflecting the actual image to the wearer, like they use in those "holo sights" for firearms. Not impossible obviously, but not something from a standard ski goggle either.

Obviously focusing on a nearby object would be something of an issue though.

Re:How would HUD even work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41379007)

Presumably that would require curved lenses (parabolic) reflecting the actual image to the wearer, like they use in those "holo sights" for firearms. Not impossible obviously, but not something from a standard ski goggle either.

You're thinking of old-school reflex sights, not holo sights -- they use a flat hologram illuminated with a laser.

But yes, either a semi-silvered parabolic mirror, or use a regular round lens to focus to infinity, and a flat semi-silvered mirror (or other formm of beam-splitter) to bring it in-line with the eye. In neither case does the reflective surface need to be or match the curvature of the external lens of the goggles/cockpit.

Obviously focusing on a nearby object would be something of an issue though.

Yeah, but if you focus it at a finite distance far enough to be reasonably clear when focusing at infinity, it works for some range closer -- should be adequate for skiing. to also be useful e.g. in an office environment might require an "indoor/outdoor" focal plane toggle.

Re:How would HUD even work? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41381657)

Seems to me you could have a lens that's always focused to match your eye. All you have to do is bounce light off the wearer's eye to measure the eye focus, then correct for it automatically.

Not saying it would be easy, but it's certainly doable.

Re:How would HUD even work? (1)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 2 years ago | (#41382601)

At the moment, technology has great difficulty tracking the position of the human iris unobtrusively. Given the amount of detail that would be required to watch an eye for the minute deflections and ocular muscle movements that determine the current lens' focal length, along with the necessary personal ocular detail necessary to accurately determine the current positional-space focus point of that eye, while taking into account astigmatism, hyperopia, presbyopia and myopia, such a task is currently beyond the reasonable grasp of technology. Even "Bouncing light off the wearer's eye" is going to be difficult to measure, especially as the eye will react to light that you shine on it for measurement.

Re:How would HUD even work? (1)

jochem_m (1718280) | more than 2 years ago | (#41384829)

Try asking the US Air Force how that works out for them (rather well, actually), as they've been using it in fighter planes for decades now.

Yes, but aren't those HUDs at about arm's length, on top of the console? Instead of less than an inch from your cornea?

Re:How would HUD even work? (1)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389565)

Even so, optically speaking, the same rules apply. You just have to ensure you're focusing the image that much further away.

Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (3, Insightful)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377203)

Umm...unobtrusive if you are skiing, perhaps. If you are walking around town in the middle of September, not so much.

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377231)

My vision is augmented.

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41378339)

Is that a banana in your pocket or are you augmented to see me?

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377297)

Perhaps the googles do something?

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377341)

The goggles do nothing!

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377543)

No, because once everyone is wearing these, the goggles will just photoshop out the goggles everyone else is wearing.

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377675)

Undoing accidental mod.

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (1)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377963)

Being that I am a skier, this is awesome. Altitude, speed, acceleration, mountain maps, incoming calls, music controls, weather reports. Fuck yes!

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41378249)

Wouldn't you be better off paying attention to the mountain side that you are currently skiing down?

Re:Unobtrusive Ski Goggles (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#41379181)

Those who do not learn from Sonny Bono are doomed to follow him (into a tree).

On a side note.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377225)

"..running Android 2.3.3"

4.1 is the latest, right? Thats your problem right there.

Re:On a side note.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377335)

"..running Android 2.3.3"

4.1 is the latest, right? Thats your problem right there.

What ability of 4.1 is not present in 2.3.3 which is essential to a working HUD?

Re:On a side note.. (1)

4wdloop (1031398) | more than 2 years ago | (#41380305)

I'd guess 2.3 is much lighter on RAM/Flash/CPU/GPU?

not wearable but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377257)

I used a broken android phone + dildo to make a vibrator with a video camera. The movies aren't as exciting as you might think.

We actually use it for science (infertility studies at a medical school I won't mention).

2.3 is gingerbread (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377277)

Eclair was Android 2.1. I can definitely see why soulskull was scared about dice imposing standards on the editors. Any other media outlet would have long since fired these flunkies.

Not a HUD (2)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377281)

A heads up display allows you to look straight ahead without adjusting your focal point or moving your eye. This doesn't look as though the image is projected onto the surface of the googles. the user must make an effort to view information, it is not overlayed with the normal field of view. It's just a mini-display tucked into the corner of diving googles.

Re:Not a HUD (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377753)

A HUD is literally a Heads Up Display, which this certainly is. Projected overlay within normal field of view is an implementation of HUD, but not its defining characteristic. In this type of application, both implementations are attached to the head rendering the inferred head position of HUD a bit moot.

Re:Not a HUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41378417)

I have that gadget (and I love it). You actually don't need to focus at all, the image looks like it is few feet away in front of you, at the bottom right. No effort required, it is a bit like glancing at the speedo while you're driving. having been using it a full season no issue at all.

It is quite nice to see your speed in real time, see where you are on the piste map (you don't do that while skiing, but you have plenty of time on the lift). You can change music track, answer phone calls (I also have a headset in the helmet), without pulling out your smartphone and without pulling out your gloves. And one the most useful function you have the clock always available without having to remove your glove :-).

Re:Not a HUD (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#41378885)

"No effort required, it is a bit like glancing at the speedo [wikia.com] while you're driving."

So you're saying that it takes a while to get the image out of your head?

Re:Not a HUD (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#41378851)

"It's just a mini-display tucked into the corner of diving googles."

You need to learn to ski better.

Version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377291)

Isn't 2.3.3 Gingerbread

Re:Version? (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377701)

It is, yes.

Not sure a side display in skiing is a good idea (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377383)

Skiing is already kind of dangerous, and has lots of opportunities to run into things and people.

I'm not sure embedding a display that can distract you is necessarily a great idea...

A pure HUD overlay over the whole view that was primarily about warning you of collisions might be useful though. Especially indicators of things to the side just out of your FOV, or terrain radar warning you of ripples in the terrain you could not see because of flat light or snow.

Re:Not sure a side display in skiing is a good ide (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377797)

Driving is dangerous too, yet every car comes with a vast array of readouts and inputs.

Re:Not sure a side display in skiing is a good ide (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41378833)

Driving is dangerous too, yet every car comes with a vast array of readouts and inputs.

Not as dangerous: the view ahead of you is clear, the other displays are out of the way and (most importantly) not impeding peripheral vision.

I would also argue that most people skiing have much less control ability than they do in a car to react to sudden peril. Hitting brakes or steering is very easy; braking/turning sharply on uneven terrain is difficult on skis or a snowboard.

Re:Not sure a side display in skiing is a good ide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384083)

Actually MORE dangerous, due to speed, momentum, limited visibility, traffic conditions, and the fact that you're sitting in a metal construction that can crush you in a million different ways if you get slammed by something. The vast majority of skiing accidents ends with no injuries, since it's not very dangerous. The vast majority of car accidents ends with at the very least equipment damage, and quite possible whiplash and so on.

As for your argument that people skiing has less control to react to sudden dangers, that's patently false unless you're talking about downhill speed-freaks - a very small portion of skiers most comparable to track racers in the vehicle world. Even so the occurrence of "sudden peril" is incredibly rare in the skiing world compared to while driving.

Re:Not sure a side display in skiing is a good ide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41378685)

Yeah. Goggles are nice to shield your eyes from pokey bits of trees and ice in crashes. I don't like the idea of introducing a large, pointy piece of plastic so close to my eye. But the hardware/software combo is cool.

Re:Not sure a side display in skiing is a good ide (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41382649)

I'm not sure embedding a display that can distract you is necessarily a great idea...

It is just as distracting as the edge of your goggle frame, your hand as it moves into view, the hot skier chick who skied by.
How distracting is your speedometer when you are driving? That is about how distracting the Recon device is

A dream come true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377517)

I can't wait to have unsynchronized clocks and force close messages blasting into my eyes constantly, or at least until the battery dies. I don't get that enough with my phone and want it beamed into my eyes directly.

Would like to have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377663)

one on the visor of my motor cycle helmet. It would be nice to be able to see what's behind you while looking forward. Would also be nice to see you instruments without having to take your eyes off the road - RAS

Humble name suggestion (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377789)

Opti-Grab

Re:Humble name suggestion (1)

jdbuz (962721) | more than 2 years ago | (#41380557)

Branded for Oakley: Oakley Omni-vision (Omnies for short); Apple? Apple Eyes (may end up patenting vision). Ray-Ban? Ray-Scans. Serengeti? CanzaSeeyas. Ok, your game is is harder than I thought...

2.3.3 = Gingerbread (1)

jackaroe (224777) | more than 2 years ago | (#41377899)

The article and summary both get this wrong. Also, most people would not consider ski goggles unobtrusive.

uhm what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41377915)

2.3.3 isn't Eclair it's Gingerbread

ski goggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41379467)

Its bad enough we have people who text while driving.
commercial: "My sister was glade skiing. This is the text message she sent before she hit a tree at 30 mph and died."

Re:ski goggles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41384093)

Except that's totally acceptable. Darwin takes care of his own. When you text while driving, you are more likely to kill OTHER people, which is not acceptable.

"Dr. Dobb's [sic] reviews" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41379929)

An apostrophe means "woah, here comes an 's'".

(Paraphrase from Dave Barry, I think.)

Usable on a motorcycle? (1)

Traksius Egas (12395) | more than 2 years ago | (#41380869)

I'm a bike rider (Motor, not foot powered) and I can think of many uses this would be handy for when on a cruise around the country side. The standard email/speed/weather apps would be handy. But how about adding a rear, wide-angle camera view that I could glimpse at without turning my head around. That would be pretty useful.
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