from times online

It’s always fascinating to see how far real life has to go before it catches up with science fiction. This week: video goggles
The Myvu personal media viewer

Not yet suitable for public transport: the Myvu personal media viewer
Michael Parsons

To be honest, the product felt like a prototype more than anything else – it’s clearly early days. The design cleverly allows you to use your peripheral vision while still being able to focus on the screen. This stops you from groping your way around and feeling blinded by them. It also means that they are only half an inch deep, and the narrow band around your eyes makes everyone who sees you think of Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I had planned to use them on the Tube, but found myself physically incapable of taking them out of my bag and putting them on, because I knew how much of an idiot I’d look.

However, I couldn’t help thinking that one day a product like this will work. It will be wireless, and it will be indistinguishable from a pair of sunglasses. It will have a wireless remote. You’ll take them out of your jacket pocket, pop them on, dial up the news on your iPod, and be able to watch television while travelling. This will address one of the vexing problems when strap hanging on a train or bus: the lack of a third hand. I already watch quite a bit of video when travelling. That means one hand for the bus or train, one hand to hold the iPod Video screen up to your eyes – and no third hand for your coffee. With a pair of next-generation MyVu spectacles, I should be able to strap-hang and watch television in comfort, while sipping a cappuccino. This tragic vision of the future life of the commuter reminds me very much of that lonely Japanese killer in his darkened hotel room, so I reckon they’re on to something.


Michael Parsons, now editor of, was once European correspondent for The Red Herring magazine, and spent five years working in Silicon Valley and worrying about technology. He can be reached at