Sony display module aims to make any eyewear smart

Smart glasses, while fancy and interesting, have the peculiar problem of usually being ugly, if not hard to personalize. Well, that and they could be used as instruments to invade privacy. Without giving up on the entire smart eyepiece category, Sony is trying to take a different spin on the wearable. Instead of a complete smart glass like Google Glass, Sony is developing a standalone display module instead, one that can be attached to any fashionable eyewear of your choosing and can even be used without a smartphone.

Sony describes this contraption as a compact, lightweight single-lens display module, one that has a high-resolution color OLED microdisplay and a micro-optical unity. The OLED screen is a 0.23-inch with a resolution of 640x400. Aside from the high pixel density, the module also boasts of high contrast ratio of 10,000:1 and high brightness for outdoor visibility.

Of course, the main advantage of Sony's piece is that it isn't tied to a single pair of glasses. It can be attached to glasses, goggles, or sunglasses and the end effect is something akin to Google Glass. The display is limited to a sub-window at the corner of one's field of view. And since it is detachable, you can even remove it and stow it away when not needed, or when it's not allowed. This gives the best of both worlds for those who fancy something like Google Glass but without being forced to have it conspicuously worn all the time.

The independence of Sony's module goes beyond the eyewear frame, however. The module can function both paired with a smartphone and on its own. Aside from an ARM Cortex-A7 processor inside, the module has both Bluetooth and WiFi for pairing with a smartphone as well as connecting to the Internet by itself. Sony will be making an SDK available for creating apps that will run on the module itself. They will also provide communications specifications as well for developing apps that will run on smartphones and communicate with the module remotely instead.

As enticing as the idea might sound, Sony's display module isn't a commercial product yet. Not that Google Glass is one either. Sony will demo the concept model, called "SmartEyeglass Attach!", at CES 2015 from January 6 to year.