LAS VEGAS — Riding the bus, commuting on a train, or waiting three hours at the airport for your flight to board — all of these tasks involve a lot of sitting around. While you could pass the time by watching videos on your phone, staring at a five- or six-inch screen isn't the most immersive experience.
This week at CES 2018, Kopin showed off a prototype headset that lets you watch high-definition videos. while still maintaining enough peripheral vision to avoid missing your stop. Code-named "Eagle," with an official name coming later, the device also lets you detach the viewing screen so you can use it as a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Eagle uses two tiny, 720p OLED screens — one for each eye — to give you the experience of looking at an 80-inch TV. Each of the 0.49-inch micro-displays has an amazing pixel density of 2,997 PPI, providing you with images that are as sharp as they are colorful. The device uses a USB Type-C cable to grab video and audio from your phone.
I had the opportunity to try Eagle at Kopin's CES 2018 suite. The sample video had impressive color and brightness, but the early prototype felt a bit fragile on my head. I appreciated being able to see the room around me through my peripheral vision; it helped me avoid the strange feeling of isolation I get when strapping on a full VR headset.
I can imagine using the Eagle to watch some Netflix while I take my 40-minute train ride to work each day. Then, when I arrive at the train station and have to walk another mile to the office, I can detach the visor and use the headset to stream some music.
Kopin is developing the Eagle in partnership with Pico Interactive: a VR headset maker. When the product launches, it will appear first in Asian markets, and will carry a new name and branding. There's no word yet on when the Eagle will go on sale or how much it will cost. Whenever it ships, though, the device could change the way people think about their commutes.