Every so often in Dave Eggers’s The Circle, a disturbing novel about the future as imagined by tech companies, the characters talk about going “retinal.” Eggers never explains what that means, though some readers might assume it’s a more advanced version of Google Glass, which sticks a mini-screen right in front of your eyes.
Avegant, a company whose website tells you it is “developing the next generation of wearable devices,” knows what that means. The company’s new “virtual retinal display,” called the Glyph, dispenses with screens altogether. Instead, it uses “a combination of optics to reflect an image directly onto your retina, effectively using the back of your eyeball as a screen,” according to Avegant.
The idea is far from new. A Wikipedia page on virtual retinal displays attributes their invention to a Japanese engineer in 1986, though we couldn’t easily verify the reference. By the beginning of this century several…
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