Tag Archives: Google Glass

DIY Google Glass with Raspberry Pi

If you thought Google Glass was something beyond your capabilities, well you can think again. Adafruit has a Do-It-Yourself design that can turn a pair of display glasses into the coveted Google glass type of form factor. Not only does it clip to the prescription glasses you are using, it can display any type of device that puts out Composite Video such as the Raspberry Pi or RBPi does.

With 3D printed parts you can download free, one pair of these wearable video glasses will cost you only $100. The display uses simple plug-n-play technology to connect to the RBPi. The project uses the NTSC/PAL Video Glasses (1:20) and uses only one-half. The glasses are full-color LCD micro-display presenting a virtual large screen of 52” at 2m distance. With a resolution of 320×240, and a color depth of 24 bits, it has an in-built LiPoly battery rated at 800mAH, which lasts for 4-5 hours. You will also need miniature wireless USB keyboard with touchpad and of course, an RBPi.

Other parts that you will need for this project are a 3D printer to print out the parts, flat pliers, 30AWG Wire Wrap, a pack of heat shrink tubing, a screwdriver set and a composite video cable.

You start with disassembling the Video Glasses. First, remove the nose guard piece. For this, you may have to remove tiny screws – use a small screwdriver. Then, carefully pop the shaded lenses off. There will be more tiny screws behind the lens, remove them and the frame should come off easily. Now, gently pry open the enclosure and use a flat-head screwdriver to separate the two halves. Remove the PCB from its enclosure – use a pair of flat pliers. Also, remove the two video display screens from the enclosure. Holding the eye covers to the magnifying lenses, unscrew the two eyepieces. Now carefully detach one of the displays from the PCB and store away as a backup unit.

You will now have one of the video display units along with the kopin video processing circuit. The power circuit with its USB port and the two audio input jacks should also be present. With disassembly over, it is time to begin the assembly of the project.

Begin by unsoldering the four connections from the power circuit, as you will need to increase the lengths of the wires. Use about 140 mm or 5.6 inches of 30AWG wire to extend the length of the wires. You may need to tin the ends of each wire before soldering them together. Use heat shrink tubing to secure the connections. Disconnect all components before you put them into the enclosure.

3D print the eight pieces design to make the snap-fit enclosure. This will house the components extracted from the Video Glasses. The plastic eyepiece with the magnifying glass goes on top of the eye part. You can reuse the same screws to secure the eyepiece into the eye part. Positioning the eyepiece into the cap part, thread the cable connections through the opening on the side. Similarly, thread the wires through the elbow part and snap it in place. Assemble the rest of the parts following the guide here.

A live translation project using Raspberry Pi

Up until now, wearable computing has been confined to some odd bulky wristwatches. Most people are probably aware of the Augmented Reality Glasses, commonly referred to as Google Glass that Google has been working on for quite a while. Google Glass is still in limited release and not available to everyone. So, in the meantime, you can use your Raspberry Pi (RBPi) to fill in the gap. The project has everything you desire – small in size, light in weight and light in power consumption; a cheap lithium-ion battery makes it run for hours.

The project has two RBPi Single Board Computers working as close as possible to the universal translator of the Star Trek fame. The two displays are a pair of digital glasses, quite off-the-shelf. Other standard equipment used are a Jawbone Bluetooth microphone and a Vuzix 1200 Star wearable display. When fully functional, the system uses Microsoft’s publicly accessible API or Applications Programming Interface to perform voice recognition and translation on the fly.

For example, Will Powell, the originator of the project, uses the glasses to have a conversation with Elizabeth, who speaks Spanish. Although Will has never learned Spanish, he is able to converse meaningfully returning the answers in English. Powell’s blog shows a video of the system in action and shows the details of the build.

This project glass inspired translating unit works in real time and displays conversation as subtitles on your glasses. Both RBPi run the Debian squeeze operating system. For using the system, individual users will be wearing the Vuzix 1200 Star glasses, and these are connected to the s-video connector on his RBPi. For a clean and noise cancelled audio feed, Will uses a Jawbone Bluetooth microphone connected to either a smartphone or a tablet.

The Bluetooth microphone picks up the speakers voice and streams it across the network to pass it through Microsoft’s translation API service. For regularly used statements, a caching layer improves the performance. The subtitles face their longest delay when passing through this API service, The RBPi picks up the translated text the server passes back and this is then displayed on the glasses display.

Once a person has spoken, it takes a few seconds of delay before the translation pops-up on the other persons glass display. Moreover, the translations are not always fluid or coherent. However, that has nothing to do with the technology used here; rather it is based on the inaccuracies of the translation API. It is really amazing as to how such a relatively simple setup could offer speech recognition and translation at very near real-time.

At this rate, Augmented Reality Glasses will become popular very soon, and Google has suggested they will make their Glass project commercial very soon. Mobile communication is standing on the brink of a revolutionary technology that Google’s Glass is sure to bring about. However, Powell’s work shows there is still a lot of room to experiment and explore different kinds of functions and applications in this field.

The project also shows that very soon it may not matter what language you speak, anyone will be able to understand you, provided everyone is wearing the right glasses.