Loupe: The Tiny Kaleidoscope-like Wearable Computer

One obstacle I face as a Google Glass wearer is getting non-Glass wearers to accept that I’m wearing it. As I told someone recently, “It freaks people out sometimes.” Hopefully that will change as wearables become more popular. In the meantime, there have been many attempts to create a Glass alternative. One of those alternatives is Loupe, which looks like a kaleidoscope hanging around your neck.

Before you dismiss this concept, let me just say that I admit it needs refining. After all, in its current state, it’s not very unique since your smartphone can do everything it can do. However, I like the foundation of the idea (even though it’s not hands-free). I like the thought of making it more obvious when the user is using the tech, which should make those around us feel more comfortable.

I also like the design. The shape of it, and the fact that you hold it up to one eye, reminds me of the little kaleidoscopes I had when I was a child. I remember holding them up to my eye and turning them around over and over. Seeing all those bright colors swirl into geometric patterns made everything seem magical and possible.

Loupe was created by researchers at Nokia in collaboration with Yahoo Labs and several universities. It’s tiny enough to fit in your pocket or wear on a chain around your neck. It allows you to check your email, surf the Internet, see your social sites, etc. You just hold it up to one eye and gaze into it, like a kaleidoscope.

According to MIT Technology Review:

The device includes a proximity sensor to tell when it’s being held in front of your eye, and a magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer help determine its orientation and measure changes so the display can always appear upright to the user. The current version of the Loupe is also tethered to a computer running Android and an Arduino microcontroller.

It’s fun to see all the different wearables that people are inspired to create. Wearables are starting to be offered in all different forms and flavors. It’s like a smorgasbord of tech to choose from.

Who knows… In the near future, it might become popular to have an entire selection of wearables at home. We can wake up in the morning and choose which one we are in the mood to wear that day, just like we choose our shoes and lipstick color. I like that idea. I like it a lot.

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Source: MIT Technology Review


YouTube: Loupe: A Handheld Near-Eye Display (by TheOfficialACM)

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