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If your mother yelled at you about ruining your eyes by sitting too close to the TV, she is going to go nuts if you come home wearing a pair of these. The German research society Fraunhofer has developed a pair of glasses with lenses that project a heads up display right onto the user’s retina.

The glasses contain OLEDs controlled by a chip in the frame’s hinge that give the appearance of an image about three feet in front of the user. The prototype only allowed for static images, but the next generation will incorporate eye tracking technology that will allow the user to manipulate the image simply by looking at different spots on the screen.

Fraunhofer says that the glasses will benefit doctors, engineers and other specialists that need to manipulate data while their hands are otherwise occupied. Of course, once this technology becomes affordable, these classes could be used for everything from simply checking email on the go to more advanced reality augmentation for, say, displaying the menu for a restaurant when you stand looking at its storefront on the block or overlays on the street to help with directions. I can already envision a future where everyone is constantly bumping into each other because they are too busy Tweeting with their glasses to watch where they’re walking.

[Fraunhofer, via PhysOrg]