Apple develops wearable video displays?

Multimedia obsessives and gadget geeks have been waiting for the future to happen today, and now it looks as if one future-tech wanna-have seems set to reach a critical point – wearable displays are set for a re-vamp.

Apple and Sony are – well, researchers claim them to be – developing wearable, head-mounted video displays. These displays won’t just be about watching video you have stored on your iPod, iPhone or Walkman-branded doo-dad, they will also offer a portable means for accessing true computer functions, as the office goes mobile and computing takes a seat in the cloud.

What this means is the stage is slowly being set for a more pervasive multimedia experience – and there’s interest in such products from beyond the consumer markets – there’s significant military applications for this.

These claims emanate from Research and Markets (R&M) in their latest report, ‘Personal Viewers: Sony and Apple Eye Accelerating Growth’.

The researchers cite rapid sales growth in both the consumer (near 100 per cent this year) and military (sales approaching $1 billion in 2008 to triple by 2012) markets as reasons Apple and Sony are interested in head-mounted displays.

They also note that the technologies involved are increasingly inexpensive and accessible, while demand and potential uses increase.

“Today’s personal viewers provide video only with limited visibility of the environment. Sony and Apple are developing the next generation personal viewer, the navigation/video sunglasses. These products will offer navigation features in full see-through mode as well as video viewing with a clip-on to block the background. We expect that clip-ons will be available to provide both see-periphery views of the environment, as well as full blocking of the environment to enable video immersion when desired. This new versatile product generation will further accelerate acceptance and sales of personal viewers,” the report explains.

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