Head-Mounted Displays: Much Hype About A Niche

October 27th, 2010  |  Published in Comments & Features  |  7 Comments

Head-mounted displays (HMDs) are much hyped, especially since the Japanese mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo and Olympus presented really cool HMDs for an augmented reality (AR) service at the recent Ceatec. But to be honest, I firmly believe they will stay a niche product for the time being.

Ok, the display looks inobtrusively small. But in reality it is still obtrusively in your eye-sight. Furthermore, I doubt the usage as AR-device. NTT Docomo demonstrated an AR-guide for Kyoto, the old imperial capital. Plugged into a GPS-mobile phone the HMD would suggest highlights along the tour, statues or famous restaurants for example. And when the user turned his head, it would show the name of the artist in case of a statue or what a particular restaurant is famous for.

But acording to my own test of another HMD (the Nikon UP), these mono-ocular HMDs are stressing the brain out. After a while, you feel dizzy as your brain is trying to make sense of the two different pictures it sees. I still think, it is much easier and more natural to take out your smart phone and use it as AR-device.

And it doesn’t really matter how cool the glasses look.

Another matter are videoglasses as this one of the Japanese manufacturer Scalar. With the spread of 3D movies, they might become popular.

Although the T4 of Scalar seems to be too heavy, and with 128000 Yen way too expensive for the mass market. But there are others available for less money like the just launched Cinemizer OLED of the German manufacturer Carl Zeiss.

Games might be another good application. But for the time being, the biggest market will be in b2b-products. HMDs for construction workers – or for doctors as this HMD-helmet of Scalar indicates. It is designed to support doctors during endoscopy or surgeries. Of course, we are only talking about the civilian side. The military might have much bigger use for HMDs.


  1. Daymoney says:

    November 3rd, 2010at 17:08(#)

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing ? I usually don?t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful ?

  2. Martin says:

    November 7th, 2010at 18:28(#)

    I will try to improve. I am still experimenting.

  3. Ronnie Thursby says:

    November 5th, 2010at 17:25(#)

    not sure I agree with every thing, yet you bring up several good things.

  4. Martin says:

    November 7th, 2010at 18:28(#)

    The most wonderful thing about HMDs: Since HMDs are not really widely available, we still have the freedom to speculate. Once they are on the market, the jury is out, and the products as well as their sales numbers will prove us wrong or right.
    But I certainly try to avoid any unnecessary informations in my field of view.

  5. tabibito says:

    November 9th, 2010at 02:35(#)

    Hope you noticed that comment 1 & 2 are common spam!

  6. Martin says:

    November 10th, 2010at 20:36(#)

    Thanks, noted it, hopefully it is gone.

  7. auto approve blog says:

    November 10th, 2010at 22:58(#)

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