Raspberry Pi AR/Smart Glasses

An experimental pair of discreet Smart glasses

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This is an finished electronics project where I make a pair of smart glasses. I wanted them to be cheap, fashionable and so good that you don’t have a reason for not wearing them.

This project is paused, simply because I’m not good enough at soldering and electronic to develop this. If anyone wants to build on what I have now, that’s great!


They must be fashionable and cheap(easily under £100)

They must be useful, and so good that you never want to take them off (wishful thinking perhaps)


I have entered more detail in the log below, but I have made a rudimentary prototype with a working display mechanism, before struggling with the soldering and stopping the project.


I can program these, but I haven’t been able to build the underlying hardware!

Google Assistant 

Lots of games in an incredible gaming app

Ability to use it as a computer 

Very simple Web browser


An App Store 

Spotify Support(Through Alexa?)

Send Email with Voice


If I can find a way to make the hardware, I have some ideas for games, I can make, perhaps in an app that you can get and play games from.

I also need to make an API to make it easy for others to program, and I need to program an App Store for anyone to develop their own apps.

Then I would need to produce and sell it.

To reiterate, the reason I can’t make the hardware is because I’m not good enough at electronics and soldering. It’s not because I don’t know to how have a heads-up display, or to make it small and discreet - I have those sorted! 

If you want to build on what I have already, just message me and I can tell you more details. I can also build my own circuit on a breadboard and write programs, which can run on the glasses.


A prototype display I was considering using for the glasses at one point

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 13.00 kB - 11/04/2023 at 12:44


  • I’m stopping this for now

    Jacob MacLeod04/09/2020 at 09:35 0 comments

    Hi! First, I just wanted to say, sorry for not posting a log for the last few months. Progress on the glasses have ground to a halt in those months.

    The main problem is I am more of a Programmer that does electronics, rather that an electronics engineer that can program. I can solder, for example, but I’m not very good at it, so when challenging things happen, I tend to give up.

    I glued the screen to the glasses, and glued a mirror to the frame, so you could see the display. That worked fine, but I found it REALLY hard to solder the screen to the Arduino Nano, and kind of gave up.

    I have no doubt that it would work, but I don’t really have all the skills needed. If anyone wants to build on what I’ve already made, that’s awesome (though it would be nice if you linked this project!)
    Finally, if you want more details of what I’ve got so far,  just message me! 

  • The screen is working!

    Jacob MacLeod01/03/2020 at 18:00 0 comments

    Hi, and Happy New Year!

    In the last post I talked about a 0.91” screen I wanted to use for the glasses. It came a few days ago, and it is tiny

    It is a perfect size for the glasses, which is brilliant.

    My first challenge was to find a library to program the display from the Arduino. That was easy enough - it uses the SSD1306 driver, which I already had a library for. 

    The next challenge was to solder wires to the display. In the past, I have found it hard to solder wires to this type of display - one time I accidentally broke the display by leaving my soldering iron on it for too long!

    However, it was surprisingly easy this time. I took a picture then wrapped the wires in sellotape to insulate them.

    Once this was done, I tested it with the glasses to try to get an angle where you could clearly see the glasses. I found a good place to put them, so I think that means I have finally found a screen I can use!

    The next step is to build a prototype pair of glasses with this display. I’ll let you know in the last post how I did!

  • My new roadmap...

    Jacob MacLeod12/22/2019 at 09:15 0 comments


    In this post, I described how I needed to drastically change the glasses.

    So in this post, I wanted to detail some of the changes I want to make with the glasses.

    The first change is the display. Whether I like it or not, I need a much smaller display. I found an easy-to-use 128x32 0.91” on eBay and Amazon, and did some testing with a piece of cardboard to see whether it would work. It sort of worked, but I will have to actually try it out.

    The next change is the controller. I can’t have the raspberry pi in the glasses because it makes them too thick. That means I’ll have to put them in a small box in the user’s pocket with a battery and communicate with the Arduino (which will be controlling the display) with a NRFL01 module.

    I think the Arduino will be an Arduino nano. I had an idea for a custom Arduino with 2 ATMega 328 chips that could work in unison with specially written code, but I don’t think that is needed here.

    I thought the basic OS maybe could be handed on the Arduino, then the rest on the pi, but I’ll have to see how that works.

    Anyway, that’s all for now!

  • I really need to rethink this

    Jacob MacLeod12/17/2019 at 15:19 0 comments

    Hi. So I decided to try and assemble what I already had into a glasses frame, and this is what I came up with.

    Aside from the fact that I needed to optimise how I project the display, it was going fine. That was until I realised that in fact, it was a massive failure.

    I realised the issue was that the arms of the glasses were way too long because of the display and the raspberry pi. Nobody in their right mind would wear this the in the place where it makes the most sense to wear it: outside. Instead, pretty much nobody would buy it.

    I realised I needed to change it and make it MUCH smaller. I already have a few ideas of what to do, but I’ll tell you my solution in the next post.

  • Screen is now WORKING!

    Jacob MacLeod12/13/2019 at 17:46 0 comments

    Hi! I am happy to announce that the screen is now working! As I said in the last post, I have a raspberry pi connected via I2C to an Arduino, telling the Arduino what to display.

    I used the Arduino because I couldn’t find any libraries for the raspberry pi for the display.

    Here is an image:

    If you look very closely, you can see the writing the display is showing(you can make the text bigger in the code)

    The next step now it to connect the accelerometer. It requires I2C, as does the I2C connection from the raspberry pi to Arduino and there is only one I2C pin, but I’ll work through those difficulties.

  • I am back making the glasses

    Jacob MacLeod11/29/2019 at 17:22 0 comments

    Hi. Let me explain why I havn't posted for over a month.

    The screen came, and I got it working with the Arduino very quickly. However, the problems came when I tried to get it working with the raspberry pi.

    After a few weeks of  finders that the drivers that I thought would work didn't, and scouring the internet for drivers. I realised that there were different models that required different drivers!

    The drivers I thought I had found were for the ST7789VW model, and I had the ST7789 model, that I could only find arduino drivers for.

    So I just waited, but nothing came of it. I was at a loss to work out where drivers I needed were, and I didn't know what to do. Then I had an idea. Instead of directly making the Raspberry Pi control the display, I could have the Raspberry Pi telling arduino to do certain things like 'display homepage' or 'display battery level'. 

    So that is what I will do. I will have the raspberry pi connected to the arduino via a I2C connection, telling the arduino what to display. 

    However, I don't know how I will be able to implemebt video watching with that method, so I'll have to work that out

  • Screen Arrived

    Jacob MacLeod10/24/2019 at 11:16 0 comments


    So I just finished the last log, where I talked about how the screen was yet to come.

    I put the phone down(I typed it on the phone instead of the computer as I couldn’t be bothered to get the computer out) and posted the log. I hear items being pushed through the letter box. I go to the door and see two packages. I open them.

    Here is a picture of what they contained:

    On the left, you can see the screen, which I had just posted a log about. On the right, you can see an adapter to program an Arduino I am using.

    Here are a few more pictures showing the size of the screen:

    So now I have the screen, I need to use it with the raspberry pi and glue it onto the glasses, as well as a few mirrors.

    Anyway, that’s all I needed to say for now, so bye!

  • Sunglasses and Mirror Arrived

    Jacob MacLeod10/24/2019 at 10:56 0 comments

    Hi. So in the last post, I said about how I have ordered the parts for the initial full prototype. The Sunglasses and the Mirror have now come, so now I need to wait for the screen, which should come on the 4th of November.

    I don’t really like the sunglasses that I ordered, as they are in a style that I am not a fan of. At some point, I will order some new glasses, but not now.

    Anyway, the next step once I have the screen is to build assemble the display system. Then I can start programming a few apps while I am waiting for the rest of the parts to arrive, like sensors and Bluetooth modules.

    I am also thinking about making it modular, so it can slip on and off your glasses easily, and so you can interchange pairs of glasses. However, am not sure how I can do that yet, though.

  • Ordered parts for prototype

    Jacob MacLeod10/15/2019 at 10:54 0 comments

    I have ordered all the parts I need for the prototype, so that will come in a week or two. Amongst others, I have ordered a 720p LCD and parts to make a wireless gesture based controller.

    And in case you were wondering, yes, these glasses will be able to run the full version of Linux.

  • Glasses Frame Designed

    Jacob MacLeod10/10/2019 at 13:02 0 comments

    Hi! This is a quick log to say that I have worked out what electronics I want in the glasses, and I have even designed a wireless controller to control the display that will be powered  by an arduino nano, or pro mini. This will then talk to the Raspberry Pi Zero W, which will control the entire thing. I want the Raspberry Pi to be a big factor in the glasses, as it could theoretically replace both desktop PCs and laptops. Because of this, you will be able to plug in an mini HDMI - HDMI adaptor, or use the display connector.

    Anyway, that's all for now, so bye!

View all 12 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Valery DJONDO wrote 11/01/2023 at 15:12 point

It's been a while now. Hope you didn't give up ?
Please refresh :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jacob MacLeod wrote 11/01/2023 at 15:19 point

I haven't given up as such, more just paused the project. I was able to make a working prototype, but the screen was very small and low resolution (about 48x96) pixels if I remember correctly. In addition, you need to strain your eyes to look at the display. I don't know how to solve those challenges, so for now I've sadly stopped progress. I'm open to any ideas though, and it's possible in the future I'll return to it if I can find a solution to those problems, but for now, I don't know how to improve on it

  Are you sure? yes | no

1nDistinct wrote 03/12/2020 at 14:19 point

Can you post a video of this working, I'd like to see your AR results thus far

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jacob MacLeod wrote 04/09/2020 at 09:23 point

Here’s a link, hosted on google drive because I don’t have a YouTube channel:

Let me know if you have any problems with the link!

  Are you sure? yes | no

nagup wrote 01/19/2020 at 13:35 point

Is the RPI going to be running a smart assistant and send commands to the arduino via the NFRL01 modules? 

That is so clever, I never thought about radio. The thing pushing me away from having an external module was the need to have a wire from the HMD to the pocket device. 

For notifications, I am testing an iOS BLE code to use with my ESP32 however I'm sure there is something similar for android if that is what you will be using. Maybe you can get the RPI to fetch notifications from your phone as well. Will save you from having to include a Bluetooth module. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jacob MacLeod wrote 01/19/2020 at 17:05 point

Yes... that is a good idea. I don’t really know to to develop mobile apps, and while I can easily learn, a developer license from Apple is far too expensive for me. However, I can still develop for android!

  Are you sure? yes | no

nagup wrote 01/21/2020 at 16:14 point

The developer license sure is expensive. The code I'm testing doesn't need an app. How is the new screen working? Does it fit better?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jacob MacLeod wrote 01/21/2020 at 21:27 point

Yes, I think it will be perfect! However, I still need to permanently glue it to the frame... I had lost the glue gun but I have just found it... I’ll probably do that tomorrow

  Are you sure? yes | no

nagup wrote 12/01/2019 at 17:41 point

Have you found a display that has a good enough pixel density to be able to watch youtube videos yet? I think I have found one but its quite pricey. for now I bought an ips full colour lcd 80x160 and im waiting on an esp32 module to arrive so I can hopefully get the screen working

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jacob MacLeod wrote 12/01/2019 at 21:26 point

Yes, I have... I found a  240x240 screen. However, I can't get it working with the Raspberry Pi right now, so I may have an arduino responding to commands from the raspberry pi via I2C. However, although it might be able to search the web via web scraping, it can't watch youtube videos this way, which is a massive issue. 

So I need to work that out

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 10/03/2019 at 16:57 point

Sunglasses seem like the right platform for this - more stealthy.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jacob MacLeod wrote 10/04/2019 at 13:49 point

Yes... like James Bond glasses

  Are you sure? yes | no

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