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Raspberry Glass

My glasses are augmented.


The Project

Every year at my high school, seniors are required to do a big, year-long project that is meant to help us be prepared for the real world. Throughout the school year, we plan what kind of project that we want to do, we work on them, and around the end of the year we dress up in business attire and present the project in front of a group of judges, whom will decide what score the project will receive.

For my senior year project I wanted to do something special since it was the last year of year of school and this was my chance to do something really special. Since my specialty is in computers, and since Google Glass was starting to get more widely known, I decided that I should make my own wearable computer and be the first amongst my peers to have a computer strapped to the side of the face.

What I did for my senior project is me making a wearable computer out of a Raspberry Pi and a MyVu Solo, which I call the Raspberry Glass.

In this page, I shall describe how I made a wearable computer by referencing and explaining the presentation above. Please note that I had a time limit of 10 minutes when presenting the project, so the pacing of the slides may feel a bit rushed.

The Introduction

In slides 1 to 10 I introduce myself and the topic of the project to the judges; I begin by defining what wearable computers and augmented reality are, so the the judges understand what I will be talking about in this presentation. I then show some pictures of current uses of wearable computers, particularly in the military (Land Warrior). On the next slide I show popular fictional depictions of augmented reality in the context of wearable computing. I then talk about Steve Mann very briefly, due to him being one of the first people working on wearable computers.

The Google

Slides 11 to 16 consists of me introducing the judges to Google Glass, the reason why I chose wearable computing as my project topic. I explained to them what Google Glass is, how it works, what it does, and why I think Google Glass will be one of those things everyone will have in the future.

I added a bunch of photoshops of historical figures wearing Glass (Thanks Verge commentators!) so that they see what it looks on people, but mainly because I wanted to add a tasteful amount of absurdist, time traveling humor to make the presentation more interesting to the viewers.

The Assembly

Slide 17 to 19 is where I introduce my mentors Mr. Adam Harvey, and David Tianwei Liu. Mr. Harvey helped me take apart a MyVu solo so that it would work with just one display, and David provided me with guidance on how to safely take apart the Solo without damaging it too much.

Slide 21 to 24 is where I show all the parts and materials I used to make the Raspberry Glass. The Raspberry Pi is the main computing unit for the project, which sends a video signal out of the Yellow RCA port to the MyVu. All of this is powered by a 12,000 mAh EasyAcc battery, and is controlled via a Favi FE01-BL wireless keyboard. Internet connectivity is via a IOGEAR Wireless N USB adapter, and the OS (Raspbian) is stored on a 4GB SD card. Also I used a bunch of electrical tape. A lot of tape. Too much tape.

Slide 25 to 30 is a gallery of the disassembly of the MyVu solo. I really wish the work area was a lot cleaner - my family was cleaning up the house on that day, so that's why a bunch of junk was around the table. To make the Solo work with just one display, we had to carefully snap off nearly every plastic part of it, and to solder a bunch of pins together. After much confusion, Googling, YouTubing, and deliberation, we decided that it would be much simpler to fold the the left display assembly over the right one and tape over it slightly; it gets the job done and doesn't take up too much space. This is the part where a lot of electrical tape was used to protect the wiring and to attach the MyVu to my eyeglasses. I didn't realize until a few days later at how much electrical tape residue can stick to anything and everything.

Here are some pictures of what it all looks like:

The Product

Slide 32 to 37 is where I show the completed build of the Raspbery Glass. For version 1 of the build, I didn't quite have the beefy EasyAcc battery just yet, so I used a very tiny Energizer 2,100 mAh charger. By version 1.1, I finally had the EasyAcc battery. I did a power test of the Raspbery Glass, and it concluded that that Raspbery Pi itself could run for around 10 hours on the battery; the MyVu display had it's own battery which lasts for maybe an hour.

Version 2 of the build is when I had the Wifi adapter, the keyboard, and a 90° composite video adapter arrive in the mail. This is the final build version of the Raspberry Glass. I added some pictures of Raspberry Pi connected to my TV so that the judges will see the image I see on the MyVu display that sits in front my right eye. I ran Minecraft Pi Edition on my Pi to see if it worked.

The Future

Slide 38 to 40 I talked to the judges about the experience I had while doing this project. I talked to them about the current limitation of the Raspbery Glass (no camera like the real Glass just yet, and the WiFi driver for the WiFi adapter I used was very finicky), and what I could in the future to improve upon it (such as adding an HD camera, add voice commands, use a better MyVu display, add a 3G radio, stuff like that).

I then talked about accomplishments I made while doing this project, which are:

  1. I learned how to make a wearable computer using commonly available technology.
  2. I got closer to my dream of having my own pair of Google Glasses.

If you haven't noticed already, I really want a pair of Google Glasses and I will gladly throw all my monies at Google once the consumer version is released.

The End

The last two slides I thanked the people that helped me with this project (see the section below), and after a quick Q&A session with the judges I concluded my presentation. I received a grade of 100% for this project.


Special Thanks

I would like to dedicate this section of the page to say thanks to all the people who has helped or inspired me through out the project.

I would like to thank my primary mentor, Mr. Adam Harvey, for taking the time out of his busy schedule to help me assemble the Raspberry Glass. I would like to thank David Tianwei Liu, my internet-based secondary mentor, for helping me figure out how to wire up the MyVu Solo properly.

I would like to thank other people in the wearable computer field (including but not limited to: David Reynolds, Gregor Richards, Martin Magnusson, Steve Mann) for inspiring and influencing me through their past works.

I would also like to thank my best friend and project financier My Nguyen for being my best friend and for partially funding parts of the project.

I lastly would like to thank the Raspberry Pi foundation for creating the Raspberry Pi, without which this project would have been a lot harder to do, and to Google for creating Glass.


Fun Facts!

  • The typeface used in the presentation is Roboto, the official typeface used by Google for Glass. The background color of the slides in this presentation are exactly the same color as on the official pictures released by the Google Glass team.
  • I think I am the only student in history who has ever played Minecraft (Pi edition) on a pair of computer glasses while presenting in front a group of people. #AchievementUnlocked