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The Future is Looking Up with Sony’s Concept HUD Module

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Sony's Single-lens Display-module HUD unit

In today’s high-tech times, our world feels a little more like that of Star-Trek each day. One of the most advanced technologies finding its way into the cycling scene is that of Heads-Up-Display (HUD) units. These devices aren’t new, but recently they`ve shrunk to the point of becoming wearable technology.

A HUD unit attached to your sunglasses allows riders to display key information within their field of vision, eliminating the need to look down at your cycling computer or fumble around in a pocket for your smartphone. Sony has jumped into the HUD market with a Single-lens Display Module which is yet unnamed, as it’s still in the prototype phase. Could your next cycling computer be part of your sunglasses?

Head past the jump for a glimpse into the future…

Sony's HUD display module and display view
Sony’s HUD unit shown below, and a view of the display in action.

Sony’s HUD device was first displayed at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show as a concept model called the “SmartEyeglass attach!” which was intended to demonstrate sports related uses (including cycling). It’s not the first wearable HUD unit out there with the Recon Jet and Google Glass both already available, but Sony’s gadget will offer a few unique features.

Sony`s Single-lens Display Module employs a hi-resolution, high contrast color OLED display for superior image quality. It can produce deep blacks and represent the full sRGB color spectrum, and also outputs sufficient brightness for outdoor use. The image appears in a 0.23″ window on the right side of your right lens, about halfway up from top to bottom.

The unit is almost perfectly balanced left to right, and weighs 40g. Sony’s Display Module will have WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility so other wireless devices (like HR monitors, cycle computers, etc.) can be integrated. Sony’s unit can be paired to a pov camera and used as a remote display, but the module itself does not include either a still or video camera.

Able to be loaded with apps and used as its own device, the Display Module can also be paired to a smartphone for in-tandem apps. Said apps are yet to come, but SDK kits will be made available from Sony for partnering organizations to develop them. The Module is designed to be easy to attach/detach, so it can be removed from your sunglasses when not needed. Sony is aiming for mass production by the end of the year.

Sony Single-lens Display Module Specs (May change- still a concept!)

  • 0.23 inch display, capable of 640x400p resolution.
  • Weighs 40g, almost balanced at 22g on the display side and 18g on the battery side.
  • Uses ARM Cortex A-7 processor (equivalent processing power to a smartphone, says Sony)
  • Bluetooth 3.0/WiFi capable
  • Built in sensors include electronic compass, accelerometer, touch sensor.
sample displays from the Sony HUD Display Module
Cycling was one of the first sports featured in the debut of Sony’s HUD unit.

Between the Sony, the Recon Jet and the Google Glass, it’s clear that the Recon is the most suitable for cyclists out of the box. The perfectly balanced weight totals to 28g, and the wireless device compatibility, gesture or touch controls, phone call/text display, and weather resistance are all ideal features. Also, it displays all the data riders would want like speed, pace, elevation, distance and time. Projecting the image on the bottom of right lens seems better for cycling versus a more centred micro display. The Recons shoot photos, are WiFi and GPS equipped, and use an SDK platform for open app development. Cost is $499, not cheap but nowhere near what Google`s asking…

The Google Glass boasts good technical specs but seems less sports specific than the others. The first indication is that the weight is all on the right side of the sunglasses, rather than balanced out. It also projects onto a small screen that hangs off the top of the right lens, which is where most cyclists are likely looking from our hunched-over positions. Also, I`d hate to drop them as they sell for $1500.

On the flipside, taking HD video and photos is a feature that riders may use. Voice commands could come in handy, (assuming road noise doesn`t present a problem). Google is clearly thinking about cyclists as the Strava app will be among the first available, and they`ve partnered with Oakley to make compatible sunglasses.

Sony`s prototype Single-lens Display Module leaves a few questions unanswered, but could wind up a viable option for cyclists. Assuming compatibility with frames is widespread or even universal, it`s high-quality display and sports-specific apps might make it a contender in the cycling market.

sony.net

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Gunnstein
Gunnstein
7 years ago

Queue haters who don’t want new tech and don’t want anyone else to have it either.

Looking forwards to well designed HUDs. They will increase safety, compared to looking down at the bars. Implementation is key. Must have no pointless distractions, should have navigation buttons on the bars, fully rain/sweat proof, 10+ hours battery life, etc.

The Laster HUD deserves a mention, it also seems very promising.

WheresWaldo
WheresWaldo
7 years ago

Let’s see if Sony actually delivers a product. Recon Jet, why was it even mentioned, supposed to release in Spring 2013, Amazon says May 1, 2015. Two years late! I won’t hold my breath. I am not against HUD, think they may actually be safer as the poster above mentions. But the price to play needs to be much lower.

Duane
Duane
7 years ago

I’m actually a big fan of this technology but I have my doubts any more. The google approach has been disappointing even outside of sport application and like many I’ve pretty much written off Recon as ever delivering. My gut tells me that Sony will build and ship something that feels like it is better suited to the golf player than the cyclist. They don’t exhibit the kind of empathy with the cycling user base that is necessary to build a successful product.

yogibimbi
yogibimbi
7 years ago

I tried Recon’s ski goggles and needed about half an hour to get the screen into my field of vision and still could not find it again reliably. Then, the information displayed was rather sparse, like looking at a watch screen, but somewhere to the right of my right eye.

heatwave23
heatwave23
7 years ago

Gunnstein… I think you find a lot of the “tech haters” don’t really hate tech. They hate tech that is pushed by marketing/profit instead of the fact that it solves a real problem.. This on the other hand seems to have a lot of potential. So lets see how many haters we have.

Gunnstein
Gunnstein
7 years ago

@heatwave23 Yes, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any “I ride without any gadgets and so should you” or “just enjoy the ride” (as if gadget users aren’t) yet. They tend to flock to this kind of article on BR.

heatwave23
heatwave23
7 years ago

@Gunnstein… I think another reason that you aren’t seeing the hate versus something like electronic shifting or 11 speed is the fact that it is not being pushed on you. People say if you don’t like it then don’t buy it but the fact is you will be forced to. Let’s say I want I high end road bike off the shelf odd are in the not too distant future electronic will be the only realistic option. And just like press fit bottom brackets… it is a move to reduce manufacturing cost not to improve cycling.
With this… if you want it buy if not don’t. The response maybe very different if Garmin was releasing it.

TRPkatie
TRPkatie
7 years ago

Why do they need to look like something out of a 70’s StarTrek episode? Is it a pricepoint thing? Have you guys seen those crazy earbuds that pretty much replace your Garmin? If they can do that in earbuds, why is this thing so clunky? (obviously I’m a rocket-scientistnot…)

Chach
Chach
7 years ago

Make one that allows me to never have to look up and im sold

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