Facebook’s parent company has been spending billions of dollars attempting to make its vision for the metaverse a thing. But you don’t need to buy into Meta’s vision to play in the virtual & augmented reality space. There are plenty of other companies cranking out VR and AR headsets… and if you’re looking for something a little more hacker-friendly, there’s the Monocle from Brilliant Labs.
The Brilliant Monocle is a small circular device that you can clip onto any pair of glasses. It’s a heads-up display with a camera, microphone, Bluetooth connectivity, and touch buttons. And the design and software are all open source.
Brilliant has been working on the Monocle for a few years and announced the project to the world in mid-2022.
It’s currently available for purchase for $349 and, according to the Monocle website, it’s “now shipping in monthly batches,” although that message might be a bit premature – the latest updates posted in the company’s Discord suggest that manufacturing is nearly complete and the first batch should begin shipping soon.
— Brilliant Labs – Monocle (@brilliantlabsAR) January 6, 2023
That said, the hardware has been finalized: the Monocle features a 640 x 400 pixel color OLED display with a 20 degree field of view when clipped onto a pair of glasses. There’s an Gowin GW1N-LV9MG100C6/I5 FPGA that the company says can be programmed for computer vision, AI, or graphics and support for Bluetooth 5.2 for connecting to a phone or another device.
The Monocle is powered by a 70 mAh battery that should offer up to 2 hours of run time and comes with a charging case featuring a 450 mAh battery, allowing you to recharge up to six times on the go.
Other features include integrated touch buttons, a 5MP camera that can capture 720p video, 12MB of addressable memory, and 8MB of serial flash storage. The Monocle ships with a MicroPython-based operating system and it can be paired with your smartphone thanks to Brilliant’s mobile apps for iOS and Android. But the company says users can create and flash their own custom firmware as well.
While the Monocle is currently designed to attach to an existing pair of glasses. If you don’t normally wear glasses, you could probably pick up a cheap pair from a drug store and poke out the lenses. But Brilliant Labs says it’s also working on a “frame” accessory that will be available in the future.
Also, while the first Monocle devices to ship feature a transparent design, with all components clearly visible, the team is considering an updated design for future Monocles that uses a frosted finish to obscure the electronics.
via Hacker News,