DIY Google Glass AKA the "Beady-i"

Picture of DIY Google Glass AKA the
Monocular head mounted display. I've got my beady eye on you.............................................................................................................

In 2009 I posted an Instructable on how to make a pair of glasses with a head up display to one eye, using a pair of Olympus Eye-Trek video glasses.

Since then there has been a lot of interest recently due to the current Google Glass project, which puts a head up display in front of one eye in a very neat package resembling a pair of glasses with nose-piece, top frame across over eyes, but no lenses or lens-frames.

Funnily enough monocular displays are much more expensive than binocular ones despite only having the one display as they are perceived as semi-professional devices. The military use rugged versions and also there is a big push to bring them into medical applications.

This is my attempt to make a much better version than last time, somewhat inspired by the Steve Mann Eye-Tap project and also inspired by Martin Magni who has previously hacked the video glasses I intended to use. Specifically the aims this time are:

a) Not built into a pair of glasses. Instead we have a nose-bridge to locate one end, then a springy strap runs around the back of the head to a small pad under the ear on opposite side. This arrangement is inspired by a recent concept version of the Eye-Tap (which also originally used a glasses type frame).
b) Several DIY projects out there hack a display from one side of a pair of video glasses then mount it in an arm on a glasses frame in some way, often with a lot of experimentation required to get the correct alignment with the eye. In this project, I simply keep the factory alignment of one side of the video glasses I have used.
c) As small as possible: Most video glasses blot out all forward view and light entering from above and below. I want the exact opposite, I want to wear these while doing other things, so I want to see with one eye, and with the "video" eye also be able to see in stereo if I look up or down.

Although the display looks very close to my eye, I can easily see what I am doing in stereo if I look down normally (not all the way down, just glance downwards is enough). This is the advantage of the very slim display.

Many video glasses because they are wide and block out light, can tend to have a flat circuit board running the full width of the part in front of the face. This makes hacking them to make a one-eye display not impossible but tricky.
The Myvu-Crystal glasses are great as they are essentially two displays, with a separate cable to each side, linked in centre over the nose. The quality is pretty good and yet each display is physically very small.

I have a 3D printer and original plan was to remove the electronics of the display units and embed one in a printed structure over my eye. However the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the Myvu-Crystal eyepieces look pretty good anyway, and certainly better than anything I could design and print.

The springy band around the back of the head is actually from a gaming headset which comes with a springy band with a pad on the end, a single headphone, and a small boom microphone.

With some hacking I joined the two together and made a really neat very comfortable minimalist monocular head mounted display.

Also, it comes with an i-Phone / i-Pad / i-PodTouch connector so I can download movies or TV programmes from for example BBC iPlayer, onto an i-PodTouch in my pocket and watch them on the move. If they come out with any decent augmented reality apps in the future, I can use them. Otherwise I will stick to watching films and TV.

Obviously this also might interest the wearable computing community too. Took about 3 hours to do which is vastly less than my first attempt in 2009.

What you need:

Myvu Crystal video glasses or something similar ideally with an iPodTouch / iPad type connection option:

A basic gaming headset, the sort with only one headphone on one side and a pad on the other side.

Dremel with a cutting disk or something similar.

Epoxy glue or a glue gun.

Optionally a very small nut and bolt

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
donfrench1 year ago
This is nice but I want something a bit different and maybe someone reading this knows if it already exists. I watch streaming movies while I use the treadmill and stationary bike at the gym and would like a way to mount my cell phone so that it is about 12 inches in front of my eyes. It would be nice if the phone could flip up but if it is mounted a couple inches off-center that might work too. Does this exist or do I have to design one of my own?
XenonJohn (author)  donfrench8 months ago
I knew I had seen a baseball cap with a mega-brim. The Thompson Twins from the 80's.!

Nearly 12 inches in front of your face.

XenonJohn (author)  donfrench1 year ago
I think there is an Apple patent filed for a baseball cap with a clip for your iphone on the brim, although the brim does not stick out as far as you require!
acuchetto9 months ago
Isn't this bad for your eyes? (Really, how can it NOT be?)
XenonJohn (author)  acuchetto9 months ago
Your brain adapts after a while and you start to see everything normally around you with the video image overlaid on one part of your left eye view. The brain is an amazing thing that adapts to the world around it, think of that experiment where volunteers wore glasses all the time for 2 weeks that inverted the image to both eyes. After a while they could walk around and do things normally as before.....until they took them off at the end of the experiment.
The eyepiece is set to "far" focus so you do not have to keeping looking close up and then far away, just far away all the time. Therefore probably not as bad for your eyes as you might think.

CD_tatro10 months ago
I noticed in your last hmd you said you had a camera hooked up to this I was wondering if this mod had a camera also and can would it be able to work with a smaller camera like the kind you find in those spy pen? I want to make one of these for soldering for some reason and I want to put a zooming camera on it..
XenonJohn (author)  CD_tatro10 months ago
The Myvu comes with several input leads including the white/red/yellow ones where the yellow plug is the video in and the white/red are R/L audio. This works with security cameras. I used a really cheap wireless security camera last time, a modern wired one that has a cable with a yellow plug on the end should work. I like the idea of a "solder-cam" it might be better than one of those magnifying glass-lamps I currently use.
confi10 months ago
Hi XenonJohn

By plugin wrongly the polarity into the pendant of Myvu, i burnt a regilator on the motherboard.
here are the photos showing the burnt regulator : rond.jpg

And according to what you see, do you think it is fixable?
If so, in order to remplace it, could tell me which is the value of this component.

Thanks very much in advance.

XenonJohn (author)  confi10 months ago
This looks difficult to fix, though maybe not impossible. Other components may also be damaged. Sorry to be rather pessimistic.
techno guy1 year ago
that's cool, do you think this could be incorporated into a daft punk helmet so that it could also be a really cool looking heads up display? Also would it be possible to use this on a laptop instead of an ipod or iphone?
XenonJohn (author)  techno guy1 year ago
Yes probably.

They come with lots of leads including a simple RCA set with the yellow (video) red(R audio) and white(L audio) plugs for DVD players etc. If your laptop has yellow video out socket (some older laptops did have them) you could do it, else might have to buy an adapter. If you surf the web there are people who have connected video glasses to the raspberry Pi for example. The wearable computing community also have lots of knowledge of what works and does not work.
vader406 XenonJohn11 months ago
Where can one find this "wearable computing community?"
XenonJohn (author)  vader40611 months ago
I tend to use Google myself:
Raspberry Pi supports output from hdmi, and I think input from usb as well, just disassemble a webcam and mount it to the helmet somewhere to get a realtime viewfeed, run it into the Pi, write a simple code to make your hud (people have done projects like this already, so you could edit their work) and then output to the video glasses. You may be able to get cool things like rotating minimap or live music visualizer that responds to the music around you, since the Pi can run debian!
I think arduino can output to hdmi, but to get input from the webcam and then output to the glasses would require stacking multiple shields or assembling your own, and that would be difficult.
jj.inc1 year ago
Very cool, now you need to design a voice controlled app that does what google glass can, or at least close.
vader406 jj.inc11 months ago
I would use Siri.
Dr. dB1 year ago

Did you ever see the 1994 TV series "Earth 2"? (...GREAT show, somewhat-short-lived - only 21 or 22 episodes ...starred Deb Farentino, Clancy Brown and the ever-stunning Rebecca Gayheart...) This 'ible and others is/are getting very close to that show's audio/visual communications props (...simply referred to as "Gear" in the script...).

About as close to telepathy as (externally-mounted) technology is likely to get!
donfrench1 year ago
A baseball hat is a nice solution. I was thinking about something more like glasses. I wanted the longer distance because that is where my eyes focus without glasses but I might manage if I wear my glasses while I work out. I might just try making something.
XenonJohn (author)  donfrench1 year ago
Here is a clip to hold an iPhone to your baeball cap. Of course with this sort of thing you have to focus your eyes to "near" whereas all the video glasses have an optical trick that means although right next to your eyes, you use "far" focus to view them which is a lot less stressful on your eyes.

Nice job congratulations I wish you to innovate more project like this
Jailbreak and you can have video out for all iOS apps, not just ones that support video playback:

would you sell a pair? i dont have the resources and equipment to do it myself :(
Would it really be a "pair"?
Maker17211 year ago
so it shows the ipod touch screen? and how do you control it?
XenonJohn (author)  Maker17211 year ago
Has its own little control box.
Navigate the iPodtouch as normal.
foobear1 year ago
Forgive me, every time I hear about the Google glasses, I think of the Steve Martin movie, 'The Jerk' and the side effects of his glasses invention.
cberes foobear1 year ago
LOL... the Opti-Grip!
foobear cberes1 year ago
That's it, har! the Opti-Grab. hehe
godsdog1 year ago
I'll just check my junk drawer for a pair of Myvu Crystal Video Glasses. Wait a minute, here they are. Check!
XenonJohn (author)  godsdog1 year ago
Well, a pair of Google Glasses will set you back $1500, you need to live in the US, you will have to explain what development work you will be doing with them in order for them to bestow a pair upon you.
So, for me, easier to spend $200 on -bay. Cheaper video glasses are available for about $80.

I did say you will have to work to get hold of a pair. Not all Instructables are built from junk.
great project
lolaser1 year ago
hi, really nice idea i have been wanting to make one of these for a while but cannot find the MYVU crystal eyewear unit, that you are using in this Instructable where did you get yours from, and do you know any online sites which still sell these and at a low price of anything from $0-80

thanks :)
Lolaser - Avoid the MyVu if you can... I used one for my instructable...
... and found the optics to be horrible.
XenonJohn - Nice job :) I like the method you've used to support the monocle.
XenonJohn (author)  Beenay251 year ago
I am biased as I only have the experience of the old Olympus Eye-Treks I used before in 2009 to judge the MyVu's by. Seem fine to me for watching video. If trying to view text as a wearable computer then I agree the resolution might not be good enough though.

Resolution certainly much better than the much cheaper myvu solos.

Has anyone ever taken apart a cheap Chinese pair of $80 video glasses, the type that look like wearing a headband in front of your eyes? Lots of these on the web. That would be the cheaper way to do it, so long as the contents of the enclosure allow easy removal of one of the displays.

Hadn't thought of calling it a monocle but suppose you are right, it is.

Just wondering if would be possible print a Borg style enclosure shaped to fit your face exactly (maybe use 123d program and photos of your own face to create a 3D CAD of your face) and make it self-adhesive around your eye, no support frame at all! That would be cool.
XenonJohn (author)  lolaser1 year ago
I really had to search hard to find a pair. The radio controlled aircraft community seem to buy up all second hand decent video glasses so they can fly their planes by webcam in the cockpit.
There are a pair of crystals on ebay right now but 15 people watching already. Probably all RC enthusiasts!

If you search under "myvu" as keyword you can see they still sell the solo-plus which is cheaper but also in extremely slim frame. However they have lower resolution than crystals have the "headband" style and I am not sure how the internals are laid out. However the controller box looks exactly the same as on my crystals so it may well be that there are just 2 displays and little else in the head display, which means you could modify them quite easily................anyone out there know for sure?

There is also this one by myvu on ebay which seems to have 2 cables to it, one for each side. Although frame design shields the eyes from stray light I bet if you took them apart the two displays might well be the same as in the myvu crystals, one on the end of each cable. Would be a lot of money to spend if I was wrong about that though.

Thats so cool
Dr.Bill1 year ago


what was the price for those like?
lolaser1 year ago
i have seen they come with a composite socket for older devices, and i am sure you could get a composite to VGA adaptor or a composite to HDMI adaptor for your laptop. i have seen that i definately works with the rasberry pi

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!