Mitsubishi Electric unveils a display to be ignored

Try on a wearable display -- those in-front-of-the-eyes video displays that some futurists believe we will all be using in a few years -- and you'll soon come up against one of two problems: They are either fixed in front of your eyes, making looking at anything else impossible, or, in the case of those designed to allow for a wider field of vision, are constantly flickering away in the corner of your eyes while you try to concentrate on something else.

Now, engineers at Mitsubishi Electric Corp. have developed a new type of display that should make using and living with head-mounted displays easier. The new display is mounted on a boom designed to be placed just below one eye but will disappear from view when you look away from it. The company has managed this by playing around with the liquid crystal display (LCD) panel and optics of the unit.

Almost all LCD panels have a light in contact with the screen, either in front (a frontlight) or behind it (a backlight). In use in a wearable display, this means the light from the LCD panel is diffused across a large area of the eye and thus even when you look away some of the light from the panel is visible.

The Mitsubishi Electric engineers got around this problem by moving the light about 30 millimeters away from the display panel so that the image is more tightly focused on a small area of the eye. Look down to view the image and you can see it, just as normal. However, look up from the display to see something in front of you, and the image is now hitting a part of the eye away from the pupil, so it becomes invisible. More precisely, a movement of more than 2 millimeters in the vertical plane or 4 millimeters in the horizontal plane puts the display out of view.

Development of the new headset, details of which were announced here today at the company's research and development center in western Japan, is scheduled to be complete by the end of March, said Yukio Sato, group manager of Mitsubishi Electric's laser and optics technology department. From April, the company will work on putting the finishing touches to a development model that will be offered to companies to evaluate.

"We're really keen to see how people will use such a headset," said Sato.

The company already has some ideas: Parents could use it to keep an eye on children while doing something else and emergency service workers could check data as they carry out their duties.

The display unit measures 70 millimeters by 29 millimeters by 18 millimeters and weighs 20 grams.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?