Wearable see-through displays overlaying the user's real view with computer-generated display output have gained as a potentially effective means for a variety of mixed reality applications (e.g. in medicine, industrial maintenance, mobile information systems or even tourism and sports). Such multimedia, wearable see-through spectacle systems allow to create a visual perception of the real world visually merged with a virtual world by annotating real life objects with computer-generated data to real world objects. The user is enabled to access any kind of information, unobtrusively adapted to his current situation, while not having to give up paying attention to his environment or conducting his tasks.

system architecture

Key Issues

  • Flexible toolkit for different application domains
  • Component-oriented design for design-time and run-time adaptation
  • Supports different media classes
  • Custom hardware component integration

The project SPECTACLES attempts for a modular, autonomous, lightweight, wirelessly communicating wearable display device, that can be integrated into the physical structure of an eyeglasses frame. A modular and reconfigurable system design approach is followed both in hardware and in software, supporting a plug-and-play configuration of SPSs ("Special Purpose Spectacles") that meet the individual requirements of a specific use case scenario.

An SPS as an autonomous, wearable display system is enabled to communicate with its environment wirelessly (technologies like GPRS, BT and WiFi are being addressed), sense different environmental parameters, and display different kinds of media (video, audio, image, text). Besides the output facilities, the computational platform of SPECTACLES is designed to be flexible enough to allow integration of additional input devices like cameras, accelerometers and other sensor units that can act as a means for natural human-computer-interaction and as a source for recognizing the user's context and focus of attention.

system architecture
System component architecture: Vertical stacks indicate hw/sw components, layers design domains.

system architecture
Flexibility through component architecture: Hardware components at design time (assembly process) and a wealth of software components at run-time enable configuration for different application domains.


Universität Linz, Institut für Pervasive Computing
Univ. Prof. Dr. Alois Ferscha
Altenberger Straße 69, 4040 Linz
Tel: +43 (0) 732 2468 8556

Universität Salzburg, Department of Scientific Computing
Ao.Univ-Prof. Dr. Andreas Uhl
Jakob Haringer Str. 2, 5020 Salzburg
Tel: +43 (0)662 8044 6303

Silhouette International Schmied AG
Siegfried Huber
Ellbognerstraße 24, 4021 Linz
Tel: +43 (0)732 3848 0

Funding: bm:vit FIT-IT Embedded Systems

Duration: 2005 - 2008

A. Ferscha, S. Vogl, B. Emsenhuber, R. Spindelbalker
SPECTACLES - Autonomous Wearable Displays
Adjunct Proceedings of 13th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC'09), OCG Schriftenreihe, September 2009.
S. Vogl, A. Ferscha, O. Cakmakci, S. Vo, R. Spindelbalker, J. Rolland
Optical Free-Form Surfaces in Off-Axis Head-Worn Display Design
7th IEEE and ACM International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality - ISMAR 2008, September 2008.
Autonomous Wearable Displays - Display Unit
Bachelor Thesis, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, October 2006.