Brilliant Labs’ Monocle, an open-source device with a display, camera, and onboard processing smarts you can hold up to your eye or clip to your glasses, aims to lower the entry barrier for small, wearable computer vision and augmented reality projects.
“Monocle is a tiny heads-up display that clips onto your existing eyewear,” stated Brilliant Labs.
The device is made of a Nordic Semi nRF52832 system-on-chip (SOC) and a separate GoWin GW1NR-9 field-programmable gate array (FPGA), which are connected via an SPI bus. It has the shape of a vintage monocle but is much thicker. An Omnivision OV5640 camera sensor, a TDK ICS-41351 microphone, and a 640×400 Sony ECX336CN micro-OLED display with the necessary optics to function as a near-eye augmented reality display are also included on the FPGA. The enclosure’s top features a capacitive touch sensor, and a clip secures the gadget to your glasses.
A 70mA internal battery, used to power the device and keep the overall weight to a trim 15g, is claimed to have a two-hour runtime and can be automatically recharged up to six times using a larger battery in the charging case that comes with the device.
Instant replay with slow-motion mode, 16x “super-zoom” vision, and smartphone-connected still image and video capture and sharing are features that the device has out of the box. It runs a MicroPython port.
The FPGA has space for running on-device machine learning models, and the company highlights its ability for object detection and image segmentation as well as for providing head-up telemetry for external hardware over its Bluetooth connection. The firm hopes that developers will take the technology and run with it. To make it simpler for new users to take advantage of the Monocle’s capabilities, Brilliant Labs is also promoting the device’s compatibility with the drag-and-drop computer vision development environment offered by Streamlogic.
The Monocle is now available for $349 through Brilliant Labs, and the first shipment is scheduled to start this month. On GitHub, the project source code is accessible under the permissive MIT license.
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