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Experience stark, vivid images like nothing you've ever seen combined with premium audio in a unique flip down form factor.

Introducing the Avegant Glyph

Since the beginning of personal display technology, screens have been getting smaller and closer to our eyes but with one limitation: image quality. At Avegant we've solved that problem using a new technology that mimics the way that we as humans naturally see light. Using a Virtual Retinal Display we've figured out how to project images directly onto your retina, creating sharp, stark images unlike anything you've seen before.

Over the past two years we've worked to miniaturize the technology to fit into a portable headset good for mobile or home use. The product of our work is the Glyph. Combining a unique flip-down form factor, super sharp imagery and premium noise-cancelling audio, we created a device that is a revolution in personal display technology.

The Glyph uses a simple HDMI input to display anything in your content library, from the movies that you already own to streamed Netflix over your iPhone to the desktop environment in your Mac or PC. The Glyph is also great for gaming, whether in playing Call of Duty Ghosts on your Playstation or Real Racing on your mobile phone. And with an integrated 9 Degree of Freedom head-tracker, a whole world of interactive gaming, Point of View (PoV) imaging and interactive storytelling is within our reach.

And this is just the beginning. The future of content possible with the Glyph is limitless. Imagine directors being able to produce 360° movies where you can not only watch actors interact in a cafe but look around the environment as the story unfolds around you. Imagine integrating an LTE chip into the Glyph and making calls straight from your headset. Imagine integrating a camera on the front of the visor and clicking a button to see not just the world in front of you but ultraviolet and infrared signatures in real time.

Backers of this project are more than consumers and testers. You're investing in the future of display technology and participating in what can change the world of vision as we currently know it. We'll make you part of that community as we build it from the ground up, from interactive testing and feedback to online forums to member-only events and perks.

At the end of this campaign, those who pledge $499 or more will receive a fully functional Beta Glyph Prototype, a device that integrates fluidly with any content of your choice, displays vivid 3D and symbolizes the first step in truly integrated and stylish mobile near-eye display technology.

Accolade from the Media

Reviewed.com, part of USA TODAY, January 9th - Editor's Choice Award at CES: "As far as clarity, there is definitely a 'wow factor' when you first experience the image projected by the Glyph. It’s quite amazing to realize that you aren’t staring at a screen, and that the projected image is reflecting off the back of your retina. Since it projects into each eye independently, you can view images and video in full 3-D."

THE VERGE, December 18th:  “The picture I see already looks beautiful: high-res, colorful, and accurate, with none of the screen-door effect or pixellation of a device like the Rift.”

What is a Virtual Retinal Display?

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The Glyph's Virtual Retinal Display uses one million micromirrors in each eye piece to reflect a sharp, vivid and lifelike image directly onto the back of your retina. It's an advanced, safe and innovative process that results in extremely comfortable light yielding very little eyestrain. Users of the Glyph prototypes have worn devices comfortably for hours with no nausea or disorientation when transitioning back to normal vision.

Watch this video to see how it works.

What To Expect From The Deliverable Glyph Beta

We've spent a long time perfecting the science and the design that goes into the Glyph, and we're proud to bring you a device that reflects our passion.

The Glyph Beta that you receive in the mail later this year will have all of the trademarks of a fully developed and tested product, including re-engineered ergonomics and a slimmer, more efficient design than what you see above. Compared to the physical alpha prototype now in our hands, Avegant plans to deliver:

  • A comfortable, balanced fit that applies minimal pressure to the user's nose and ears while still looking great
  • Slimmer ear cans reduced approximately 50% in thickness
  • A thinner, more lightweight visor with a cover that minimally impacts your head and hair during audio mode use
  • One slim cable that connects to either an HDMI cable or an audio jack

Renderings of the deliverable beta prototype that you'll get are on our homepage!

Glyph Beta Product Specifications

We need to be clear with one thing: what you'll receive at the end of this year is a beta product. The Glyph Alpha works magnificently in its current state and will be an order of magnitude better when it reaches your hands as the Glyph Beta. But it's still going to be a beta device with room for growth.

Backers of this project are early testers and adopters. We hope to work with you over and after the campaign to learn about your experiences, refine the product and help bring this to the mainstream store shelves. It should be a great adventure.

Here's what you can expect to receive.

General

  • Weight: 16oz
  • Color: White, Black or Blue

Video

  • Display Technology: Micromirror Array
  • Resolution: WXGA (1280 x 720) per eye
  • Contrast Ratio: >1000:1
  • Total pixels: 1,843,200
  • Refresh Rate: up to 120 Hz
  • Horizontal Field of View: 45°

Audio

  • Sound Output Mode: Premium Stereo
  • Frequency Response: 20 - 20000 Hz
  • Dynamic Range: 115 dB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Connectivity: wired over HDMI or TRRS audio cable

Miscellaneous

  • IPD Adjustment: Yes 50-75mm
  • Diopter Adjustment: +2 to -6
  • Headtracking: 9 DOF IMU output via Bluetooth or hardwired
  • Head strap: Optional head strap included

Connections

  • Video: Single HDMI connection
  • Power: microUSB
  • Audio: 3.5mm TRRS jack (stereo-plus-mic)

Power

  • Power/recharge via microUSB cable
  • Onboard battery provides 3 hour runtime

The Development Process

With a strong staff of dedicated engineers, Avegant has been aggressively iterating on the Glyph design over the last two years. It started with a proof of concept on a benchtop:

Avegant's Technology Demonstration Unit, Complete January 2013
Avegant's Technology Demonstration Unit, Complete January 2013

We were then able to miniaturize the technology into an engineering proof of concept.

The Glyph Engineering Prototype, Complete August 2013
The Glyph Engineering Prototype, Complete August 2013

Next, we started to build in features, including the flip-down form factor and integrated audio. We took this technology to CES in Las Vegas.

The Glyph Alpha Prototype, Complete January 2014
The Glyph Alpha Prototype, Complete January 2014

Throughout this year we'll be taking our support from Kickstarter and using it to refine and optimize the design.

The Glyph Beta that you receive will be subjected to a full course of ergonomic testing and redesign where we'll carefully balance the comfort and fit. We'll also redesign the optics to accommodate a wider range of inter-pupillary distances. Finally, we'll slim down the ear cans to 50% of their current thickness and decrease the thickness of the optics in the visor to ensure a better fit.

Renderings of the deliverable beta prototype that you'll get are on our homepage!

The Glyph for Developers

All new hardware projects require developers to push the envelope of the technology in order to create the best experiences possible. At Avegant, we're excited to support developers and work with the community as the platform grows.

Getting started as a developer is simple; the only hardware you need is a Glyph!  We've intentionally created the Glyph Beta with a form factor that works fluidly with any HDMI input, making the device simple to use with any source. While we are currently compatible with a range of apps and platforms, we hope developers will create custom software that takes full advantage of the Glyph. This includes wide integration with our head-tracking in conjunction with a full spectrum of devices. We see major opportunities in this realm with huge potential growth, for example with mobile support so that head-tracking can be embedded into more 360 video apps and Point of View (POV) games. 

We can't wait for some of you to make a golf game that uses the sensors within a phone along with head-tracking to create a 360 degree simulation of the PGA Master's or a light saber fighting game where the 3D buzzing sound moves from ear to ear as we hack and slash our way through the future. 

During the campaign, we'll be building out a developer's forum and engaging a feedback mechanism for our early adopters to interface directly with our engineering team.  We are also looking to any developers that join us on Kickstarter to help us target the software environments that they are passionate about so we can work on integration for those first.

The Glyph for First Person View Applications

Integrated head tracking and high-end video opens the door to a wide range of First Person View (FPV) applications for the Glyph. We stopped by Skyspecs in Ann Arbor to get an idea of how drone technology can be improved using the Glyph

How We'll Use Your Support

Prototyping and testing a piece of consumer electronics is a time and cost intensive process. Our initial research and prototyping brought us to the alpha stage of development. We proved that the science worked, which is the biggest risk in a project like this. Now we need to ramp up production and make sure that the fit is good for a wide range of consumers.

Your money will help us expand out our prototype base to perform a full design of experiment on fit and function. We're working with Tekna, an industrial design firm in Michigan with broad experience in designing medical devices, to find the materials and ergonomics for the best look and fit.

We also need to set up and organize our manufacturing. Currently, we're proud to be designing and manufacturing the Glyph in the United States, but to plan for the future we need to identify and engage with manufacturers around the planet to ramp up large-scale manufacturing.

Along the way, we'll also allocate engineering cycles to rebuilding the electronics in order to slim down the weight and lower the profile of the device.

More Reviews from the Media

So far our Engineering and Alpha Prototypes have received much accolade from the press.

CNET profiled us live at CES:

CNET, January 6th: "...the projected image, just like my last time with Avegant's virtual retinal display tech, was exceedingly bright and vivid, lacking any sense of pixelation."

THE VERGE, December 18th: “The picture I see already looks beautiful: high-res, colorful, and accurate, with none of the screen-door effect or pixellation of a device like the Rift.”

ENGADGET, December 18th: “…the company’s latest reveal has us throwing balls of cash at the screen.”

TESTED, November 12th: “Objects in focus looked much sharper than I would expect from 720p, and with the interpupilary distance adjusted, there was no crosstalk that I could see in the 3D. But more importantly, my eyes weren’t strained and I actually could let my pupils comfortably wander and focus on different parts of the image.”

ROAD TO VR, November 12th: “…it was one of the most vivid and natural things I’ve ever seen on any display.”

DISCOVERY NEWS, October 11th: “Each projected images offers two times the resolution of competing head-mounted displays, plus a seamless image compliments of precise pixel blending.”

DVICE, October 10th: “Avegant’s prototype Virtual Retinal Display (VRD) is not your run-of-the mill head-mounted display (HMD).”

DIGITAL TRENDS,October 10th: “...it actually projects images directly onto your retinas, which gives it a number of advantages over LCD-based headsets.”

CNET, October 9th: “This truly provides a far more compelling visual experience than any headset on the market today.”

ENGADGET, October 9th: “We’ve never seen a product quite like this, and for Avegant, that’s very good news.”

LAPTOP MAG, October 9th: “The Avegant Virtual Retinal Display boasts a completely different level of realism, since it projects light directly into your eye to mimic natural vision.”

About the Team

This technology is born out of an incredibly passionate group of engineers (even our marketing lead is an engineer) dedicated to near eye displays.

Dr. Allan Evans, our CTO developed the technology out of a government lab, and together with Dr. Neil Welch, our VP of Engineering and Edward Tang, our CEO, they were able to build the initial prototypes.

Our team has grown as the Kickstarter approached, adding Yobie Benjamin, the former global CTO of Citigroup as our COO and Mark Palaima, a former Fellow and Chief Architect from eBay, to our roster.

We have a confident, strong team with deep connections in the manufacturing and electrical engineering world across the country.

FAQ

  • What is a Virtual Retinal Display? A Virtual Retinal Display uses a micromirror array and a combination of optics to reflect an image directly onto your retina, effectively using the back of your eyeball as a screen. The resulting picture is extremely sharp and vivid, unlike anything a conventional display can produce. In particular, the 3D images are exceptionally clear.
  • What sort of content works with the Glyph? The Glyph is made to be media agnostic, meaning that it can plug into any HDMI source and display any current content natively. This means sources from an XBox to a Playstation to a MacBook to an iPhone to an Android device may be used while content from Blu-ray DVDs to video games to streaming movies can be watched.
  • For how long can it be worn? The reflected light produced from the Glyph is very comfortable and natural feeling. Many users who experience eye strain or nausea in looking at a conventional display feel no similar effect using this technology.
  • What about battery life? The beta headset will have enough battery life to power a full-length feature film, about three hours.
  • What sort of cables will I need? The beta headset will have one HDMI cable that will plug into any HDMI source. An adapter will be included to go to a micro-HDMI connection.
  • Will there be head tracking for gaming or immersive reality? Yes. We have already tested the current prototypes with head tracking and assorted console games. They work great!
  • What is the field of view? Looking into the device you’ll see an image that looks like an 80 inch screen 8 feet away from you. That translates to about a 45 degree field of view.
  • Can you make that field of view bigger? Yes. We promise to look into developing it. But right now we want to focus on bringing a broad spectrum of already-existing content to the broad user base, and we don't want to constrain the image. Support us in our efforts now and you'll see the fruit of our development down the road.
  • Does this technology work with Virtual Reality? Yes. The high resolution, lack of screen-door effect and low latency of our technology makes it great for VR.
  • Is it safe? Yes. The light source is simply a low powered Light Emitting Diode (LED) – something like you would see at the end of a keychain light. The micromirror array and optics together create the unique image.
  • How does the Glyph work with glasses? You’ll be able to adjust the diopters in the Glyph to accommodate a wide variety of prescriptions and pupillary distances. In short: you won’t need your glasses. Note: at this point we cannot account for astigmatic eyesight.
  • Isn’t a micromirror array the same thing as a DLP? Yes. We’re working with TI utilizing brand new, unreleased, cutting-edge micromirror technology.


Stretch Goals

* Originally we planned to include noise cancelling at $1M of funding, but because the messaging was unclear at the outset we'll include it with all of the shipped devices from here on out. More stretch goals to come!

Stretch Goals: $500,000 - Complete!

We've doubled our goal! As a thanks, we're going to expand the number of available body colors for the regular Glyph $499 contribution or the $499 special edition to include Red, Green and Orange. LED and HDMI colors will remain blue and black respectively on the regular edition. Customized LED and HDMI colors for the special edition will remain among the currently offered options. You'll be able to pick your colors after the campaign is finished.

Check out the updated Beta Glyph Designs here

Stretch Goals: $750,000 - Complete!

At $750K we'll include a basic semi-rigid fabric protective case with all shipped Glyphs (excluding the $999 version with a customized case). We'll release details on the specific design soon.

Stretch Goals: $1,000,000 - Complete!

At $1M we're allowing backers of the Glyph Beta (any edition) to custom engrave the side of their headsets. The engraving will likely be either "Limited Edition" or "Kickstarter Edition" with the backer number underneath, and it'll be possible to opt-out. After the campaign completes we'll send out a survey to refine the exact details of the engraving.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We at Avegant were fortunate to have the support of our friends and family to get the initial engineering prototypes built and tested. To date, we've already integrated and tested all of the optics, electronics and audio components needed to make the Glyph Alpha functional.

Our challenges through delivery primarily lie in designing and testing a fit that will be comfortable for the widest spectrum of users and also scaling up manufacturing.

Everyone has a different set of fit parameters that work optimally for the Glyph. To accommodate that, we've integrated diopters into the eyepieces to adjust focus and sliders to adjust IPD (interpupillary distance), and that will cover 99% of users. But if you have a unique ocular condition or IPD then the image may not come into perfect focus for you.

We have mitigated most of our manufacturing challenges by setting up groups throughout the states that can ramp up product at the drop of a hat. If we end up scaling through the roof, we'll need to pivot to a different manufacturing profile, but we already have deep connections in production across the planet. We have strong confidence that the Glyph Beta will ship prior to Christmas this year.

FAQ

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    A special shoutout and thank you in our newsletter! Plus we'll keep you up to date on the development process as the Glyph Beta reaches completion.

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    Avegant Fanpak: One Glyph Beta of your choice (including the Special Edition), with a customized premium case as well as a pound of SCIENCE FUEL, an Avegant disc and a limited edition wool Avegant team jersey

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    One Glyph Beta of your choice (including Special Edition), Science Fuel, an Avegant wool pullover AND come out to the Avegant HQ for the full product experience! We'll show you around the office, let you play with the legacy of devices and give you full access to our team. Travel arrangements not included.

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    One Glyph Beta of your choice (including Special Edition), Science Fuel, an Avegant wool pullover, an Avegant disc signed by the team AND come out to the Avegant HQ for the full product experience and be part of our demo video! We'll show you around the office, let you play with the device and use you as a model in the instructional video we're putting together for final Glyph Beta users. Travel arrangements not included.

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    Work with our engineers to create one customized Avegant Glyph, from custom colors to a custom splash screen to stenciling and engraving

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Funding period

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