Third Eye for Space Explorers (early
July 1962 Popular Electronics[Table of Contents]People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics. Popular Electronics was published from October 1954 through April 1985. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
"This must be the early prototype for Google Glass," was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this story in a 1962 edition of Popular Electronics. It is intended to allow 'future' astronauts to have improved situational awareness by providing means to look behind himself without needing to turn around, and to receive mission data via a miniature CRT embedded within the viewer. Voice communications is featured as well. Hughes Aircraft Company (nowadays just 'Hughes') might just want to consider assigning a handful of its highly paid attorneys to look into a patent infringement action based on the original content of its "Electrocular" headset paperwork. A small percentage of any award will be appreciated. Here is another reference to the Electrocular in a 1962 Science & Mechanics.
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The first astronaut to land on the moon may need an eye in the back of his head, and a new "Electrocular" headset (right) perfected by Hughes Aircraft may well provide it. The headset contains a miniature cathode-ray tube (A) to receive, say, a closed-circuit TV picture, as well as an internal mirror (B) to "bend" the image toward the viewing eyepiece (C). A microphone (D) for voice communications is optional. Since the monocle-type eye-piece is a transparent mirror, the wearer can look through the image, when necessary, to concentrate on what is actually in front of him. The apparent size of the image (up to eight feet in diameter) varies according to where he focuses his eyes. Many other applications are anticipated for the new device - it's being used by the pilot at left, for example, to receive pictured information from the control tower on air traffic and ground conditions.
NOTE: I did a quick patent search for Hughes Aircraft Company in the era of this article and did not find the "Electrocular'" however, check out Eyeglass Interface System (USPTO #6,349,001). Looks like Hughes might have a case.
Posted April 28, 2014