Smart glasses can be dangerous

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Are you in love with Intel’s Vaunt smart glasses? Did you know they can be dangerous to your eyes? Let’s take a closer look at how they work and why we at BasisNeuro have a reasonable concern for your health.
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The very idea of glasses that make you look like a nerd is excellent!

Many startups, large companies and corporations have created their own smart glasses. Glasses as a gadget are attractive and easy to use. They include futuristic Google Glass and Sony, conservative Vue, sports Solos. Intel’s distinctive feature is that they do not have an LCD display, or touch panels, or even a microphone, as the device itself is currently just a prototype. Instead, the glasses use a low-power laser, capable of projecting images on the retina with a 400x150 pixel resolution.

The technology is based on the use of the so-called vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL). Laser technology is widely used in medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. The use of VCSEL for direct retina illumination raises the issue of safety. A laser with a temporal coherent (that is, the one in a coordinated connection) front can be easily focused by the eye on the diffraction retina spot.

However, if the power at the focusing point exceeds about 200 μW, this can lead to permanent retina damage. In this regard, this prototype of Intel’s smart glasses still has to undergo long-term clinical trials and confirm absolute safety for visual organs.

In theory, VCSEL has a unique function that may reduce the danger to the eyes. The laser-emitting area is divided into several beams that are not lensing, and the neighboring VCSELs are divided into about 20–50 μm and behave like a series of independent lasers.

The “screen” projected onto the retina is located in the lower part of the field of vision, and the image itself becomes visible only when a user looks down. Nevertheless, the laser continuously illuminates the peripheral area of the retina, which is unsafe for long-term use.

At the moment, the glasses only display notifications and similar contextual information. The glasses have a built-in sensitive control circuit through head movement (– a small slope moves the notifications.) Although this prototype is largely the polar opposite of Google Glass in terms of technology, the functionality of these smart glasses is very limited. This is why Intel is going to attract developers to expand the scope of the created prototype. The company is going to arrange an early access program and a software development kit that would integrate the glasses with new apps.

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https://www.wareable.com/headgear/the-best-smartglasses-google-glass-and-the-rest
https://patents.google.com/patent/US5707139

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