The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology (FEP) has been actively developing a range of applications using OLED microdisplays. One application is to integrate the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, this allows eye movements can be recorded by the "smart glasses" and utilised for guidance and control functions.
The current generation of colour bi-directional microdisplays offers pixel resolution of 800 × 600 × RGBW and for the first time of sufficient image quality to be acceptable for market adoption. An updated hardware design with standard HDMI and USB interfaces would likewise be more than acceptable for wider market adoption.
The eyeglasses originated within the FAIR Project that was completed this year. The project objective was to develop smart glasses for human-machine interaction, with control based on visual information captured and derived from eye movements.
The bi-directional full colour OLED microdisplays integrated into see-trough data eye-glasses under this joint project were designed by project partner Trivisio, who developed a specialised mechanical design to fit the head in order to achieve good comfort and wearability. The electronics were integrated completely into the glasses so that they can be connected to a PC without an intermediate controller.
Figure: Fraunhofer FEP - Interactive smart eye-glasses using bi-directional OLED microdisplays
The research examined a number of use-cases and suitable application software for guide-by-eye control were developed by project partners Interactive Minds and Mecotec.
Examples of developed applications:
- A communications and entertainment platform for ALS patients. It converts pre-composed text segments as well as those created by the patients themselves into audible speech signals, as well as enabling photographs to be selected and displayed, and videos and music to be watched and listened to
- Industrial application used the glasses for calibration of pressure regulators in production facilities
Technical University Dresden monitored the project both with respect to the ALS patients (through the university’s Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie (hospital and ambulatory neurology)), as well as carrying out studies on ergonometry and user-friendly design (via the Chair for Industrial Psychology and Applied Cognition Research).
Besides these application examples, the advanced bi-directional OLED microdisplays of Fraunhofer FEP open up a whole world of possibilities and opportunities.
The displays can be made available in various evaluation kits for industry partners to test out their own ideas.
Funding for the FAIR research project was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (funding reference 16SV5842).
Judith Baumgarten, Project Manager at Fraunhofer FEP, said, "Augmented-reality and wearables have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for patients, athletes, and in manufacturing. With the help of the so-called bi-directional OLED microdisplays, which are developed by Fraunhofer FEP, the function of wearable displays and hands-free eye controlled systems are joined together in a unique way."
The SID-ME 2017 conference in Dresden next year (March 13th – 14th) is dedicated to the world of "wearable displays" and everything that goes with them. Experts will meet here to discuss technologies and applications.
The initial information on the program and first call for papers can be found at: www.fep.fraunhofer.de/sidme17