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uGlass: an AR module on your glasses

In this project we try to build a cheap AR module that you can use with your regular glasses.

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uGlass is an AR module that you can - theoretically - attach to any regular glasses and display images right on top of them. The reality includes a bit more hot glue, microscope slides and generic OLEDs, but we're working on it.

So far it works with our uECG wearable, and DWM1001-based devices for object tracking. We plan on testing it at MakerFaire Rome and see where we can go from there.

Most AR glasses out there are bulky, over-engineered and proprietary. And - being basically glasses with electronics - they only come in a few fixed sizes and don't fit everyone. But what if there was another way? 

uGlass started out as an idea for a device you attach to your glasses and it projects images onto them - basically, instant AR. The very first version, assembled from an Arduino, a generic OLED display board and some recycled optics, could only show its name, battery level and time from startup. The second version has its own custom PCB and works with our uECG wearable, showing ECG graphs. It can also work with DWM1001-based devices to show distance between them, or just show a set waypoint when it's turned on.

The board is very simple, built around a nRF52832 SoC and a BMI160 IMU, with connections for an i2c OLED display. It uses Bluetooth to communicate with other devices, processes their input and shows it in a (hopefully) convenient form. A magnifying lens and a small reflective glass are used to project the image from the OLED onto the glasses, in your field of view. The optics are somewhat permanently attached to the glasses for now, but in the future we'll design a 3D-printed holder for them and an enclosure for the device.

In the few tests we did, the setup and the image took some time to get used to, but the eye adjusts surprisingly quickly. We're hoping to test uGlass more intensively at MakerFaire Rome, and then work from there. 

uGlass_code.zip

Source code for uGlass's nRF52832

x-zip-compressed - 36.42 kB - 10/23/2019 at 22:47

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uGlass_KiCad.zip

PCB and schematics (in KiCAD)

x-zip-compressed - 268.45 kB - 10/23/2019 at 22:47

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x-zip-compressed - 84.88 kB - 10/23/2019 at 22:47

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  • 1 × Device PCB (custom) Custom PCB with nRF52832 SoC, BMI160 IMU, connector for i2c display, and USB
  • 1 × SSD1306 OLED display module Generic i2c OLED display module
  • 1 × 100 mAh battery (302025) Generic rechargeable LiPo battery, soldered to PCB
  • 1 × Optical lens Generic lens taken from Google Cardboard, but any similar lens will do
  • 1 × Reflector glass Piece of microscope slide attached to glasses. Replaced with mirror to work at Makerfaire

View all 6 components

  • uGlass and Maker Faire. How it was

    Ultimate Robotics10/24/2019 at 22:15 0 comments

    The story behind the creation of uGlass is quite simple. A few months ago, at a team meeting, we talked about how it would be cool to make AR glasses and a couple of weeks later we made the first prototype from available components.

    The day before leaving for Maker Faire was very intense and practically sleepless. Arriving in Italy, we realized that the prototype of uGlass needs to be resoldered, and half of the code written from scratch for demo. For two days, Kseniia and Lucy were looking for a makerspace to solder uGlass, but in the end found nothing appropriate, so they miraculously managed to buy a soldering iron. Very simple soldering iron.

    The day before the start of the exhibition, we came to inspect our booth and discuss readiness. While Dima was completing the code, Kseniia had already plugged in the soldering iron and began to solder and glue together the uGlass. I would really like to show you this process in photos, because it is very mesmerizing and often remains behind the scenes of our prototype development.

    On the first day of exhibition, Kseniia carefully glued all the components to the glasses, and Dmitry set the markers on the uGlass: locations in our hall, coordinates of Kyiv and display of his heartbeat using the data from the uECG device. We want our devices to transmit information to each other to work better.

    But when people at the exhibition began to try on glasses, we found out that the field of view was too narrow and dependent on glass position, so many simply did not see anything. Also the round lens stuck too far and often came into contact with the eye. We were disappointed, because it was difficult to fix and needed a different lens. So we tried not to focus on uGlass, but only talk about the how the image is shown.

    Despite the fact that the first prototype of uGlass was very hard to use, many people at the exhibition were interested in it and tried to put on glasses and see something. Also, your interest in this project motivates us to finally take it up thoughtfully. And your comments and questions will support us and not give up!

    Unfortunately, there aren’t many photos with someone wearing uGlass, except for the one where Dmitry and I exchanged glasses. But it only shows that Dmitry looks good in my glasses ...

    Thanks for your attention! We will be in touch.

  • First log - and let's talk!

    Ultimate Robotics10/24/2019 at 12:06 0 comments

    Hi and welcome to the uGlass project! Originally, our main project was over here at uECG - a very small wearable ECG, but after MakerFaire, things have happened and people have been following uGlass a lot (like, A LOT) - so we decided to step up our schedule!

    We just came back to Kyiv after MakerFaire - you can read about it here, but it was an unforgettable experience and the largest MakerFaire we participated in. We brought uGlass there and people tried it on - it's a very early prototype, but it was great to have feedback and see how others use our device. We want to document everything in the next project log, and work from there, so stay tuned.

    Thanks to everyone who's been following us! You're great, and we'd love if you could tell us why you liked uGlass in the first place! Join the Public Chat and let's talk while it's hot!

    When AR is in the top
    drop it like it's hot 
    drop it like it's hot
    drop it like it's hot
    glue

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Discussions

John Pfeiffer wrote 10/24/2019 at 16:06 point

Awesome! I was working on a very similar OLED HUD design a while back and ended up shelving it. I'm amazed at how simplified you managed to make the optical path.  I mean, I never would've guessed that it would work like that. 🤔

I'm definitely going to use this as inspiration when I revisit my project. 👍

Link to the blog post about my HUD, if you want to see some mistakes to avoid: http://makecoolthings.com/?p=1047

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the_3d6 wrote 10/25/2019 at 19:52 point

Thanks :) But actually our optical path is way too far from perfect - for this approach to work well, display must be several times smaller (thus higher pixel density) and lens should be smaller and have shorter focus - would experiment with them

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John Pfeiffer wrote 10/26/2019 at 07:40 point

Well it seems to work at least as well as what I did, and in less space/complexity! 😄  I came to the same conclusion about screen size though... 🤔 I'd love to get my hands on something like they used in the Google Glass...but you just can't find anything like that available to makers.😐

I've seen monochrome OLED displays like these down to 0.42" but they have smaller resolutions, too. (72x40 may be usable for simple graphical indicators, but even 128x64 was barely sufficient for my application of displaying livestream chat.)

Good luck with further developments! 👍

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leanne.conrad wrote 10/24/2019 at 08:53 point

Very cool Lucy.

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Lucy Sohryu wrote 10/24/2019 at 09:04 point

Thanks, but this is a team effort, like all our projects!

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eonassis wrote 10/23/2019 at 21:28 point

full detail the project please

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Lucy Sohryu wrote 10/24/2019 at 01:00 point

Hi! Just added project files and components to the project. Will be writing project logs soon, so let's keep in touch! :)

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Mike Szczys wrote 10/22/2019 at 15:53 point

I had a fun time hanging out with the three of you at Rome Maker Faire this weekend. It's really awesome that I had just looked at these glasses last week and then you brought them along with you.

I tried these on and the reflected display technique actually works out pretty well!

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Kseniia wrote 10/23/2019 at 18:11 point

Yeah we were excited to meet too! This was our first Hackaday meetup, and actually also one of the first proper maker meetups) our community here is scattered a bit, but we aim to change that!also the module is really raw, but at least they held well with the hot glue)I'll order some new OLEDs from taobao for them - but they're hardest to make optically, so for that we'll make some new experiments soon.

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Jacob MacLeod wrote 10/15/2019 at 10:23 point

Really cool! I am doing a very similar project, even down to the display(Although I have ordered a better display that  I will use). However, it looks like you have a better way to display the screen. I am trying to work out how to not flip the display, but still make it small and lightweight, and I haven’t yet found as good a way as you have. I basically have the OLED reflecting into a mirror that reflects into a mirror into your eye. I was also thinking(but didn’t post anything about it as it was only an idea) about making it a module that you could attach to your glasses, but that would be in some time. I was thinking about having a sort of box with a display on the side that you could slide your glasses into, but I really had no idea other than that. How are you considering doing it?

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the_3d6 wrote 10/15/2019 at 15:16 point

We still think about it - if we can get smaller display with higher resolution, then current approach would work fine (with a different lens distortion won't be huge, and keeping everything inside is convenient). But not sure if we can get one (with some kind of SPI or I2C interface so we can work with it directly from nRF)

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Jacob MacLeod wrote 10/15/2019 at 15:37 point

You can get SPI 160x80 0.96" LCDs with 65k colors from Waveshare, but it has much bigger borders, so I am not sure how it would work in practice. You can also get bigger and better displays, but they would probably be too big.

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