SBIR Phase I: Optic-On-Eye Virtual Reality Display

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0944890
Agency Tracking Number: 0944890
Amount: $178,977.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
4888 NE Sheltered Bay Lane, Hansville, WA, 98340
DUNS: 827159760
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Randall Sprague
 (206) 310-4775
Business Contact
 Randall Sprague
Title: PhD
Phone: (206) 310-4775
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of using specially modified contact lenses to enable a new class of electronic eyewear products for viewing of virtual images. The proposed architecture based on these specially modified contact lenses will enable compact wearable displays with very wide fields of view. The proposed Phase I research will analyze the human eye/contact lens optical system for standard display and vision parameters to predict system performance, develop prototype contact lenses based on this analysis, and evaluate the resulting image quality through clinical evaluations. The research will include evaluation of chemical and bio-compatibility of the materials to be included in the special contact lenses. Investigations will also focus on solving the various challenges of assembling the components into the lenses. The objective of this first phase will be to determine the trade-offs between wearer comfort, virtual image quality, and minimizing adverse affects on wearer's normal vision. It is anticipated that a high performance virtual image display system can be achieved with wearability similar to normal contact lenses and with imperceptible impact to normal vision. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be a significant improvement in how mobile and immersive imagery is viewed. Today, mobile computing devices must present their information through tiny liquid crystals displays (LCD) panels, while immersive computing must settle for the limited fields of view available through flat panel monitors and TVs. Wearable electronic eyewear are available today that attempt to address these limitations, but they themselves suffer from limited fields of view and excess bulk. This SBIR research will pave the way for understanding how to enhance the normal biological imaging capabilities of the human eye using special contact lenses in order to experience virtual images on par with images from the natural environment. This advancement will enable many new applications for wearable displays including virtual reality displays, realistic simulation imaging, highly immersive 3-D video, augmented reality systems, stylish mobile display eyewear, and even comfortable high quality electronic vision enhancement for sufferers of macular degeneration and other vision disorders. Because mobile devices and home computers are so ubiquitous in our modern societies, the anticipated benefits of improving the man/machine interface through high quality virtual imagery eyewear should impact numerous markets and demographics.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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