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Avegant Glyph: Part Google Glass, part Oculus Rift

December 20, 2013 | Telepresence Options

Avegant Glyph

Story and images by David Pierce / The Verge

Avegant Glyph: The virtual reality headset made for the�mainstream

Part Google Glass, part Oculus Rift -- part Beats by Dre

Picture it: you're sitting on the plane or in the doctor's waiting room, listening to music on a large, good-looking set of headphones. You decide you'd rather catch up on Justified, or play a little Call of Duty. You tip your headphones forward until the broad white band is now in front of your face, and suddenly your show or game appears on the underside. It's like watching an 80-inch TV, except the picture you're seeing isn't on an LCD screen -- it's being projected directly into your eyes.

If Edward Tang is right, this is the new normal. The Avegant CEO is getting ready to launch the Glyph, a $499 headset designed to turn the immersive experience of the Oculus Rift into something decidedly more mainstream. It looks like a hefty pair of black or white headphones, but it's that display that makes the Glyph matter.

Its most important underpinning technology is called Virtual Retinal Display, which offers Avegant a distinct advantage over competitors like Oculus and Google Glass. Those are fundamentally screens, a picture you look at -- Avegant's technology is more like looking through a window. "We're trying to recreate your vision as closely as possible," Tang says. "Look at how you naturally see. When you look around the room, your eyes don't get tired. You can see 3D. And you don't get nauseous or get headaches around the normal world." Everything we see in real life is simply light reflected off something else, and that's what the Glyph is, too. It reflects that light off of 2 million micromirrors, and then directly into your eye. There is no image, no screen; pictures exist only in your retinas and your brain.

virtual-retinal-display-prototype

Virtual Retinal Displays are also lighter, require less power, and can project a much sharper image. I've only seen a couple of early prototypes of the Glyph, but the picture I see already looks beautiful: high-res, colorful, and accurate, with none of the screen-door effect or pixellation of a device like the Rift. And since you see Glyph the same way you see the world, there's no eye fatigue, no readjustment period when you're done watching. It took me an eye-watering minute or two to get the Glyph perfectly adjusted to my eyes and face, and from then on it felt perfectly natural.

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