The Eye as a Screen

Organization: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (U.S. Dept. of Energy), Avegant
Co-Developer(s): Bruce Bernacki, Principal Developer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Allan Evans, Principal Developer, Avegant, Edward Tang, Avegant, Neil Welch, Avegant
Year: 2014

2014 R&D 100 Winner Current wearable media devices can cause eye strain, induce nausea or create other discomforts, particularly over extended periods. Such devices also struggle to provide the natural depth of perception necessary for a true 3-D experience. Designed to correct these shortcomings, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Avegant’s Glyph uses a micromirror array and a combination of proprietary optics in a head-mounted display to reflect an image from a media source directly onto the retina using the viewer’s own eye lens, effectively making the back of the eyeball into a screen. The resulting picture is extremely sharp and vivid, as if the viewer was watching an 80-in screen 8 ft away.

To accomplish this feat, the Glyph uses a low-power, three-color LED. The control logic for the micromirrors uses the various colors of the LED as needed for correct color rendition, at a rate much faster than the persistence of human vision, providing a seamless color viewing experience. Shining through a series of custom optics and an array of approximately two million micromirrors, one million for each eye, the light projects an image onto the back of the retina using the viewer’s own eye lens to form the image. The eyepieces of the Glyph are integrated with diopter adjustment similar to what is found on binoculars or microscopes, allowing the device to be tailored to each user’s visual acuity.

Technology Wearable media device

DevelopersPacific Northwest National LaboratoryAvegant

Development Team

Bruce Bernacki, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Allan Evans, Avegant









Neil Welch, Avegant Edward Tang, Avegant









The Glyph Development TeamBruce Bernacki, Principal Developer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Allan Evans, Principal Developer, Avegant Edward Tang, Avegant Neil Welch, Avegant