Hands-on With The Lumus See-Through Wearable Display: Real 3D, Real Augmented Reality

I’m rarely excited by technology anymore but Lumus pressed my willies button and didn’t let go. Although it’s a bit hard to explain, the technology is simple: an LCOS projector shoots an image through a glass lens and into specially polished areas of the glass. This area “projects” a simulation of a 60-inch color screen in HD in front of your face and the lenses are see-through so you can look away into the distance or up close at objects in front of you. Because the system is stereo-optical you can transmit two of the same image to both lenses or – and this is where it gets crazy – you can transmit two separate images. That’s right – 3D images in front of your face, anywhere you look and the images are unobtrusive.

Lumus is currently selling the technology to the U.S. Military but it is working on an updated commercial version for regular users and will be OEMing the lens technology for the major players interested in the system.

As we know, wearable displays are nothing new. However, to have a full-color, high-res display floating in front of your face is a big deal. They also demoed a helmet system that displays a targeting system complete with item tagging in real space. You can simply turn your head, lock onto a target, and the system will follow that target across your field of vision. Sadly, they did not include a Death Blossom attachment.

Why am I so excited by this technology? Because it offers real 3D representations in real space and it finally offers augmented reality a la Virtual Light. Sure, Layar lets you hold your iPhone up to the world and see cool stuff, but wearing a nice pair of shades that can tell you where you are is a sight better than holding up an iPhone in a crowded souk.

This tech isn’t 100% there just yet, but it will be… and that’s some of the best news I’ve heard out of the tech industry in a few years. Look for more out of this company at CES 2011.