Xybernaut Head Mounted Display to VGA hax!

I have a Xybernaut Xyberview HMD, which originally connected to a Xybernaut MA-V or MA-IV wearable computer. Xybernaut went out of business after some questionable corporate shenanigans, but while they were around, they made a solid product. Unfortunately, they used a custom, or at least obscure, connector to hook that solid product together.

Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I’ve found the pinouts for the connector, and wired mine up so that it takes a standard VGA input. I also built a power supply for it, because it needs 5V and 15V power. The power supply takes 15V from a laptop power brick and drops part of it to 5V while also providing a 15V pass-through. I used a switching regulator, because otherwise I’d be dropping 10V at unknown current as heat.

I initially had the red and blue lines of the VGA connector crossed, but I think that is because they are crossed in the instructions that I found. My corrected pinout is below. If you happen to actually be equipped to do this hack, please do let me know if I made an error, and your terribly expensive, extremely obscure hardware from the mid ’90s somehow fails to work.

The HMD connector has two rows of pins in a connector that looks a little like a miniature Centronics connector. Assuming the longest edge of the connector is on top, there are 13 pins in the upper row (U1-U13) and 13 pins in the lower row (L1-L13).

Wire colors are described as the color of the wire, the color of the mark on it, and whether the marks are sparse. So Yellow/Red (sparse) means a yellow wire with a red mark on it that is less dense than the wire described as Yellow/Red. You’ll know it when you see it.

Signal Name       Xybernaut  Wire Color             VGA Pin
Red               L4         Pink/Red (sparse)      3
Red ground        L3         Pink/Black (sparse)    6
Green             L2         Yellow/Red (sparse)    2
Green ground      L1         Yellow/Black (sparse)  7
Blue              U14        Gray/Red (sparse)      1
Blue ground       U13        Gray/Black (sparse)    9
H Synch           L6         White/Red (sparse)     13
V Synch           L7         White/Black (sparse)   14
Synch ground      U10        Pink/Black             10
+5V               U1         Gray/Red
+5V               U2         Yellow/Red
+5V               U3         White/Red
+15V              U5         Pink/Red
Digital ground    L13        Yellow/Black           5
Digital ground    L10        Gray/Black
Digital ground    L5         White/Black
Analog ground     U8         White
Headphone out     L12        Pink
Mic in            U7         Yellow
HMD Sense         L8         Gray                   11

I connected the Gray/Black and White/Black wires to the ground of my power supply, the Yellow/Red, Gray/Red, and White/Red wires to 5V, and the Pink/Red wire to 15V. The display powers up, and I can drive it from my laptop using 640×480 resolution at 60Hz.

Unfortunately, none of this hacking changed the fact that wearing an HMD makes you look like a cyborg from space.