Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!
We are down in the single digits with only 9 days remaining on the clock and we have just added a new campaign bonus. Let's get our project funded and we'll include our headset & mic to every Ride:HUD order. This is another exciting early bird bonus on top of the $150 Kickstarter discount and the free t-shirt!
Happy Holidays from the NUVIZ team!
Hey everyone! Thanks a lot for your support in the last weeks since our Thanksgiving launch. We noticed a little bit of confusion on our social media pages in the past days and wanted to highlight a few things:
- Yes, our display is transparent! In the images of the 3D-printed plastic design shown here on Kickstarter, the optic does look like frosted glass, but rest assured that this is a transparent surface in the final product. You can see how clear the image is in a few of the video scenes of the prototypes or please visit our Facebook page for additional images.
- The focal length of the display is set at 30ft – there is no need to refocus from looking down the street to the HUD at 3.5in away from your eye. You look through the display and the image appears to float in front of you at the distance your eyes are focused at while riding.
- We are not selling a helmet with a HUD. Ride:HUD attaches to any full-face or modular helmet you already own and you can easily slide the unit of the base plate and attach it to a different helmet.
- The image is not projected onto the visor. It is created on the transparent display outside of your visor allowing you to see the image with your visor cracked or fully open.
NUVIZ is a joint venture between wearable display technology leaders: San Diego-based HOLOEYE Systems and Washington DC-based APX Labs. Our teams realized that we had two passions in common: See-through display technology and riding motorcycles. We combined our unique expertise and capabilities to commercialize the world’s first Head-Up Display for motorcycle helmets. The NUVIZ Ride:HUD was born.
We will change the way you see information while riding:
- NUVIZ Ride:HUD is a retrofittable head-up display that attaches to the chin bar of the full-face helmet you already own.
- The core of Ride:HUD is a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) Microdisplay-powered projection engine that creates a bright and contrast-rich image on the transparent combiner surface.
- From inside your helmet all you see is the transparent surface, which presents the information you want in the lower right corner of your field of view.
When looking at your instruments, your navigation system or handlebar-mounted smartphone, your eyes need to refocus from looking at the road to something at a much closer distance. The major advantage of Ride:HUD is that your eyes do not need to refocus when viewing through the display. The focal length of the image is set at the usual distance your eyes are focused at while riding. With Ride:HUD you’ll keep your eyes where they belong: on the road.
We have developed NUVIZ Ride:HUD to work with the vast majority of full-face or modular/flip-up helmets. A visor is not required; Ride:HUD will work without a visor (e.g. using goggles) or with the visor cracked or fully open. It’s easily installed on the chin bar of your existing helmet(s) using a high-strength adhesive pad. The mounting plate attaches directly to the helmet without damaging it in any way. Ride:HUD connects to this plate and securely locks into place. We incorporated a quick release mechanism, allowing you to easily remove the unit from your helmet or to swap it between helmets. In addition to the standard base-plate for the majority of street helmets, we are designing kits for adventure and motocross helmets.
In determining which information to feature, we not only drew from our own experiences, but also talked to riders from as many different disciplines as possible in order to incorporate their ideas.
Designing the user experience for see-through displays is an incredibly unique challenge. Our human interface experts called upon years of experience to develop an unobtrusive and intuitive display interface for the rider.
We firmly believe that hardware is only as good as its software. The information shown on NUVIZ Ride:HUD is generated via your smartphone using our dedicated NUVIZ Ride:CLOUD app, which will be available for Android as well as iOS. Within Ride:CLOUD you can select the information you want displayed.
While on the bike, NUVIZ Ride:HUD is easily controlled with a Bluetooth-connected controller specifically designed for use with gloves. The controller can be mounted on your tank, handlebar or on the fork clamp using our mount kits. Our Kickstarter Ride:HUD Package includes the standard mount using an adhesive pad to install the base plate to the tank (or anywhere else you have space on your bike). The controller locks into the base plate, which, like the helmet mount, will not damage your bike and can be removed as needed.
NUVIZ is a joint venture between HOLOEYE Systems and APX Labs. We met each other while discussing wearable display technology opportunities for military and industrial applications. We quickly realized that we were all motorcycle enthusiasts, and decided to harness our expertise to develop a product that we would love to have on our own helmets.
San Diego, California-based HOLOEYE Systems focuses on innovative display technologies for aerospace, military, industrial and life science applications. They specialize in integrating advanced amplitude and phase modulated LCOS microdisplays (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) into display solutions, where extremely high brightness, contrast, and/or resolution are required.
Applications include Near-to-Eye Displays, Helmet-Mounted Displays, Head-Up Displays, Overlay Optics, Fourier Displays and True Holographic Displays. HOLOEYE Systems, Inc. is a long-term research and development partner for the U.S. Air Force, currently with four SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) programs.
Visit www.holoeyesystems.com for more information.
APX Labs is a software and mobile device development firm based outside of Washington DC with offices in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA. APX (pronounced “apex”) boasts an exceptionally well-rounded team of engineers ranging from myriad disciplines including computer vision, game development, real-time networking, electrical and mechanical engineering, Android mobile development, and human factors.
APX Labs is best known for their creation of “Terminator Vision” for the US Military in 2010. This was a groundbreaking application of wearable technology, and one of the most ambitious programs ever undertaken in the field. Terminator Vision laid the framework for various forms of head-worn computing and much of its foundational technology long before Google Glass came along. APX quickly realized the potential of “Smart Glasses” and began to develop dedicated applications of the technology. The first was MedSight – the first telemedicine application that allowed combat medics remote telemedicine/telepresence and hands-free access to critical patient records. Since then APX has continued to refine its technology for commercial, medical, and industrial customers.
Visit www.apx-labs.com for more information.
We have invested a tremendous amount of time and resources into the development of the NUVIZ Ride:HUD. We are confident that our years of experience in military display technology and augmented reality software development will serve motorcyclists very well.
We have developed a hardware prototype using commercially available optical components. This prototype is capable of projecting a very bright, contrast-rich image on the transparent surface set at a focal length of 15ft. The dimensions of the prototype are nowhere near the size of our final design due to the fact that we are using off the shelf lenses versus the custom lenses required for the final system. This development has been tremendously productive in determining the optical performance (e.g. brightness, contrast), physical requirements (e.g. weight, size) and environmental specifications (e.g. temperature ranges, vibrancy) to ensure the Ride:HUD provides the rider with the best user experience possible.
Optical systems require light rays to be traced through the system from the light source to the last optical element (in our case the transparent combiner surface that you look through) and to the eye using optical design software. To meet the system requirements for Ride:HUD we had to design an optical system from the ground up which includes custom lens and illumination system design. Parameters of the lens design process include surface profile types (e.g. spherical, aspheric), radius of curvature, distance between element surfaces, material types and tilt or decenter. After months of design and optimization we have finalized the design of the optical layout and the required lenses.
All lenses and optical elements in Ride:HUD need to be custom molded. This process requires significant mold design and manufacturing which is the next step we will take after a successfully funded campaign.
Using our experience having worked with an ARM processor based mobile electronics design before, the final form factor design of the main electronics board is well under way. Because much of the components and the schematic are shared from our most recent project, we are starting from a design basis that we have already spent considerable amount of time validating its performance and production viability.
Lately, we have focused on optimizing the layout of the larger main printed circuit board (PCB) to meet the aggressive size requirements (weight of the electronics is really not a factor in the grand scheme) and carefully working in the changes to the schematic supporting the smaller second board containing the microdisplay and the camera. Concurrently, we have finalized the source selection of key components, procured evaluation boards where needed and available, and started building the smaller PCB based on the topology of the optics and the light engine. Consistent with our overall design approach, a non form factor optimized version of this circuit design, found in the display prototype shown, is used as our foundation.
The next steps are to validate the schematic end-to-end with a benchtop test unit and to move forward with the production of the form factor PCBs. We expect this to happen in two stages - a small unit design validation run (<25) followed by a production line validation run (100+).
We're in active software development right now. Before the initial prototype was assembled and functional, our user experience teams were able to begin prototyping different UI layouts. We were then able to test these experiences on smart glasses to see how well they function on actual transparent displays. Much of our software design and usability testing work was complete before we could even power on the prototype!
We’re currently in the process of implementing the on-device Ride:HUD experience and building the actual application that will run on the final device. In areas where the hardware is still in development, we’re using off the shelf smart glasses hardware to test and develop our code. Both our software and hardware engineers will be able to “meet in the middle” when the device is complete in order to go through testing and evaluation on the final hardware.
We’re already churning on Ride:CLOUD as well. Our cloud team is iterating over the web API’s that will connect the Ride:HUD and other mobile devices to the cloud and we’re currently building the architecture necessary to support the many users we expect to service at launch. The code that we’re writing right now will ensure that we’re set to scale up to as many users as necessary from day one. We know there’s nothing worse than un-boxing a brand new gadget and realizing that the servers that support it just crumpled under the load of all the new users.
Ride:HUD Mechanical/Industrial Design:
Through an analysis of the most common helmet configurations, shapes, and sizes, we have finalized the maximum allowable footprint for Ride:HUD. Based on this guideline, we worked with our electronics, optics, and display experts to estimate the volume and weight budget needed to meet the final product industrial design. Based on inputs from the optical engineers, we have chosen a two-piece design in which the display and camera subsystems are separated from the main electronics containing the processor, memory, and battery. We have elected to pursue this path because in order for users of many shapes and sizes to be able to focus and get a clear image while wearing the helmet, some adjustments will be needed to properly place the display and the lens with respect to the user's eyes. Since your eyes aren't going anywhere, the display has to move!
We have also finalized the design of a vertical tilt mechanism along with the helmet mount bracket. The current industrial design meets our goal of having a strong design language and easy adjustability for a seamless install and product use experience. The next steps are to work with the electronics team to tweak the internal product design as needed, and transition the design for manufacturing. This will require the fabrication of custom molds for which we have multiple suppliers.
We have come a long way since our inception early this year and with your help we will bring the NUVIZ Ride:HUD to your helmet by September of 2014.
NUVIZ in the Media:
NUVIZ on the Web:
Vapor Studio | Brand & Product Design Studio
Resmarket | Public Relations Experts
Kevin Trout | Cinematographer
Rachel Ashley | Cinematographer
San Diego BMW Motorcycles | Home of the world's fastest Superbike
Hunter Sills Racing | The fastest landspeed racers out there
San Diego Harley-Davidson | SoCal's premier HD dealer
Risks and challenges
All projects, no matter how well planned, have an element of risk. We have a capable team in place, ready and able to overcome any issues we may encounter on the road to deliver the highest quality product.
As we transition from prototype engineering to full-scale manufacturing we anticipate challenges namely when it comes to integrating a complex microprojector alongside what is essentially the innards of a smartphone. The implication is that the final form factor of the Ride:HUD may be slightly altered as a result of the design for manufacturing process. However, we anticipate no significant changes in the overall shape of the device and expect to retain the overall design language.
We have minimized risks here by choosing key components from industry-leading manufacturers and using as much of their recommended implementations as possible. Furthermore, we have entered into a partnership with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of consumer electronics to assist us in the difficult engineering-to-production transition, and we plan to further extend the partnership by using their established production facilities if deemed necessary. With the combined experience of the two founding companies of NUVIZ, the team understands the head-mounted display supply chain and will leverage all of our knowledge to make this project a success.
Another well understood risk is addressing the development of a companion app that runs on smartphones across various operating systems (Android and iOS to start) and configurations. The full feature set of the NUVIZ Ride:CLOUD app may not be supported across every phone right out of the gate, although we will support the most popular phones right from launch and add more to the list. Of course, like any good app, NUVIZ will provide regular updates that expand features, address bugs, and improve user experience.
We appreciate your support, and we are excited to finally bring the world of head-up displays to motorcycling!
From the entire NUVIZ team,
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