How Sensics SmartGoggles Work

SmartGoggles: Tech-y Goodness

Natalia's two OLED eye displays help create the product's immersive experience.
Natalia's two OLED eye displays help create the product's immersive experience.
Courtesy Sensics

To grasp how the technology works, let's pretend we're playing a game with our SmartGoggles on. First off, what you're wearing is more comparable to a helmet than goggles: a bulky device that fits over your head to cover your ears and eyes but is still light enough to allow you to move freely. This virtual reality system is immersive, meaning you only see what the screen shows you, as opposed to one that superimposes images on your actual line of vision.

Each eye is looking at a very small OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen, magnified to fill your field of vision, with a high resolution of 1280 by 1024. Because each eye has a screen, depth perception is possible, which means you're fully surrounded by a virtual 3D image. As we're in virtual HateBot's world, let's take the opportunity to smash the nearest building with our fist.

How do the SmartGoggles know what to knock down on our screen when we punch the air? The front of the helmet features 10 cameras that are able to track the motion made in front of them. They look at your hands 60 times a second, placing them in your virtual field of view in real time. These cameras are used as motion-capture devices that can track the flailing movement of your hands and arms when, for instance, HateBot is on a rampage. Because the helmet can move wherever your head moves, you get a 360-degree experience. You don't have to limit yourself to standing in front of a device (like you would with a Kinect) or keeping your hands in a "strike zone" of space.

Cameras, along with other aspects of the technology, also play a part in user interface. For instance, if the game you're playing asks if you'd like to play again, the motion cameras can tell you're pointing at the "yes" option -- or giving a thumbs up, for that matter. A built-in microphone could also follow a voice command. One more forward-mounted camera brings live video into the goggles, a feature that could be used for a video conference, or even a photo.

SmartGoggles also have an accelerometer, which measures the force of acceleration. In a smartphone, the accelerometer might tell you if you've turned the phone into a horizontal position and will send signals to the system that it needs to reorient the screen. SmartGoggles use the accelerometer to tell the HateBot to look up to the sky when you do or to jump over or stomp a building when it feels acceleration from your own body.