Goggles that'll make you boggle

IT IS 17 July 1994 and you are at the soccer World Cup Final in the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, writes Steve Boggan. The sun is beating down, but you don't mind: you are wearing your sun goggles. You are absorbed in a classic confrontation between England and Germany. England have dominated the game but, with 30 seconds left and the score at 3-3, extra time is looming.

Suddenly, one of the purveyors of US soccer razzmatazz, far below your seat, accidentally lets off one of the fireworks that will be lit to salute the winners. In the split-second you have taken your eye off the game, John Barnes has beaten two men and scored with a curler from 35 yards.

You missed arguably the most glorious moment in the history of English football. Disastrous? No, you simply look down, as if in disappointment, and you see a replay in virtual reality on screens that appear to be 60in wide and 10ft in front of you.

This is not science fiction, it is science fact in the shape of Virtual Vision Sport goggles, the latest hi-tech consumer gismo. Virtual Vision, a company based in Washington, has succeeded in packing virtual-reality technology into a tiny power-pack which can be linked to special sun goggles that allow you to see the world around you when you look straight ahead and to view a virtual world when you look down.

The equipment, on sale now at dollars 899 ( pounds 600) in the US and later this year in the UK, includes a tiny television transmitter in the power-pack which feeds TV or video images into a small lens in the top of the goggles. These are reflected from a liquid-crystal display as two 1in images on to your goggles but not immediately in your field of view.

When you look down towards the images, you get the impression of watching a large television screen about the same distance away as your own TV viewed from your living-room settee. Your action replay has come courtesy of the live television sports coverage of the World Cup Final, but you could as easily be watching Neighbours in the launderette or Coronation Street at the supermarket.

The 5oz goggles can even be wired up to your video player or camcorder, and Virtual Vision is developing a system that will allow you to use a computer without a screen - you will simply view its output through your specs.

'It uses virtual-reality technology, but instead of encasing the viewer in a hood it allows him to see the real world with a slight movement of the eyes,' said Brian Durwood, marketing vice- president of Virtual Vision.

'It is the only system of its kind in the world and it went on sale in the US last month. We are already sold out right through to August. I think it will find a limited market, like the Walkman did. You won't see whole lots of people walking around watching TV but I expect you will see the occasional person leaping up in church and shouting 'Well, all right]' because he's secretly watching the game.'

So what about that England World Cup Final? John Barnes? 4-3? Well, why not? They say anything's possible in virtual reality.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas