This project is under construction. Please check back again soon for updates!

Project EDGE

A new ergonomic approach for wearable optics.


EDGE is a project questioning our current ergonomic standards for wearable optics.

New Market Category

A quick glance at the tech industry will show the imminent rise of virtual and augmented reality gear. It's an exciting time for designers (for everyone, really) as this is the growth of a new market category.
Oculus Rift shown right.

The Reality of VR/AR

As products intended for long durational uses, current market offerings do not quite deliver (yet).

Google Glass

Lightest of the three, Glass only has small pressure points at the nose bridge and over the right ear. Slight compression is also noticeable for wider heads.

Microsoft HoloLens

HoloLens provides a more variable fit with its adjustable headband - however, it needs to compress around your head for that fit, which isn't ideal for everyday use.

Oculus Rift

Rift also has adjustable straps that compress on the user's head. However, it's front heavy optics puts pressure on the user's cheek bones.

Apples to Oranges

A common theme across the board is that these products are all referencing something completely different for fit -- traditional eyewear.

The two share the fact that they are on your face and require your eyes to see. Other than that, the use and scale of VR/AR differ enough to be in its own category of product, one that requires a completely new ergonomic configuration.

As a starting point, I went to get a high fidelity 3D scan of my head at Georgia Tech's 3D Body Lab as well as an inner ear scan courtesy of United Sciences - a global manufacturer specializing in high precision 3D-hole scanning.

3D Scanning Lab at Georgia Tech

(Not as terrifying as it looks), United Sciences

Piecing the two datasets together was quite challenging, but well worth it as it served as a blank canvas for rapid prototyping any ideas down the road.

Post mesh data conversion to surfaces in Rhino3D

Briefly exploring different wearable configurations on paper, I quickly moved into CAD for fit tests.

Scary snug fit. Needed to reduce inner ear reach.
Slimmed down profile.
Attempted compression band for back of head. Didn't work.
Proof of concept model - perfect fit.

Three Point System
Utilizing the space in our ears and a direct contour on our nose bridge, I've arrived at a very promising fit system for wearable optics. It makes minimal contact with aforementioned pressure points and maintains a very secure fit. Any small forces that apply to the front bracket of the model redirects to the two anchor points inside the ears.

What's Next?

Now that I have a perfectly* fitting proof of concept model of my configuration, what's next? Like most technologies, time will eventually miniaturize the hardware enough to make use of this ergonomic model. EDGE started as an exclusive ergonomic study for VR/AR applications, but in the meantime, I'm looking at ways to apply it in (low tech) situations that need it now. I.e. protective gear, fashion accessory, audio peripheral, etc. Check back soon for updates!
*It's seriously scary how snugly it fits...

Instructor: Dr. Roger Ball
Spring 2016, Georgia Institute of Technology