For Your Eyes Only

A heads-up display with an eye-opening price

3 min read

Apple’s video iPod and iTunes Store put legitimate downloads of commercial movies and television shows on the map. They made it possible for an entire movie collection to be carried around in your pocket, ready to help you while away the time during a long train commute or plane trip. Now seeking to capitalize on this new video market is the Myvu personal media viewer from The MicroOptical Corp., in Westwood, Mass. The company is promising users of its wearable head-mounted display a ”large-TV viewing experience.”

The idea behind Myvu is that instead of watching your movie on the video iPod’s 2.5-inch display, you don what looks like a pair of thin, wraparound sunglasses with attached earbud earphones, and the resulting image appears to hang in front of your eyes. The iPod’s video signal is piped to two LCDs—one for each eye—with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels, which is the same resolution as the video iPod’s screen. The Myvu relies on the iPod to generate the image, so it can’t be used to view movies stored on other iPod versions.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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