Avegant Glyph headset hits Kickstarter funding target

media captionThe BBC's North America technology correspondent Richard Taylor meets Edward Tang, chief executive of Avegant.

A headset projecting images on to the retina has hit its financial target, just hours into a fundraising drive.

Avegant sought $250,000 (£150,000) for the Glyph headset, and has already secured pledges of $425,000 (£256,000).

The Glyph has no screen but instead bounces pictures into the eyes of users using two million tiny mirrors in a narrow reflective band.

The headset is designed for films, TV and video games, but with its screen flipped can be used to listen to audio.

In a video accompanying the launch on Kickstarter, Avegant chief executive Ed Tang said cash was needed to finish design work on the headset, and to establish how to cut production costs so it was cheap enough for the mass market.

Those pledging more than $499 (£300) were promised their own fully functioning prototype.

Pixellation 'reduced'

Avegant claimed that by reflecting light off the band of mirrors, the retina produced an image much sharper than was possible using screens made up of individual pixels.

This also reduced the amount of pixellation seen with many other headset viewing devices, it said.

In addition, said Avegant, reflecting light meant it was possible to update images far more quickly than by refreshing a screen.

This could help with the motion sickness some people report with VR headsets, which often have a perceptible delay when a scene is updated.

The Glyph's big rival is likely to be the Oculus Rift headset, which also enjoyed strong backing on Kickstarter.

That headset uses two small screens to produce an immersive visual display suitable for showing films, TV and video games.

Gartner analyst Paul O'Donovan, said despite Avegant's claims it was unlikely the Glyph headset would be used while people were out and about.

"I just can't see people feeling comfortable wearing something so immersive in a public place, even on a plane," he said. "that limits this product to game players, some specialist scientific uses and perhaps as a novelty device to watch movies in bed without disturbing your partner."

"I think the bigger competition must come from a really big 65in 4K TV with a good surround sound system," he said "That's potentially more immersive and considerably more practical for everyday use, although not at all portable."

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