Industry scrambles to test goggle television

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The Independent Online
BIG electronics companies are queuing up to test a new British invention that promises to do for television what the Sony Walkman did for cassette players.

Nintendo and Sharp are among the companies currently studying Goggle Vox, a miniature TV set that bears a close resemblance to an ordinary pair of ski goggles. Developed by Willy Johnson, a Hampshire-based inventor, and a team from the physics department of Loughborough University, Goggle Vox weighs just 14 ounces (400 grammes).

Not to be confused with virtual reality machines, 'headgear television' - as Mr Johnson and Professor Nick Phillips from Loughborough are calling the concept - can be used to show anything: video films, computer games and television programmes.

If Goggle Vox takes off, members of the 21st century nuclear family will spend their evenings sitting behind their personal TV sets, watching their own choice of viewing, oblivious of what is happening around them.

Because Goggle Vox comprises two miniature screens side by side, the overall sensation is of watching a 3D picture with stereo sound in a blacked-out environment. Unlike watching a normal TV, where the set is in the corner of the room, there is nothing between viewer and picture.

The concept has been under development for two and a half years but has only just been released to manufacturers for testing.

It has been made possible by a breakthrough in screen science. Previously, miniature TV screens have been unable to reproduce the picture clarity and colour quality of the big screen. But Goggle Vox's inventors have patented a new system using liquid crystal technology to magnify the small picture. Called Microsharp, this development in coated thin-film technology they say can transform the whole spectrum of computer games, satellite television and VDU displays.

TV pictures comprise hundreds of small dots called pixels. Previously it was not thought possible to create a miniature pixel and have it magnified. But Microsharp uses a small pixel and magnifies it 10 times.

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