The idea of X-ray vision has fascinated people for decades. The concept is simple: since X-rays can be used to see through a wide variety of materials, why not make glasses with the same properties? So far, X-ray glasses are the new trend and are best known as a new children's toy. Read on to find out whether X-ray goggles will become a reality.
From the 1950s onwards, X-ray glasses were constantly advertised on the back of comic books. The see-through glasses had special lenses which created an illusion and allowed the wearer to "see" his own skeleton. The lenses diffracted light in such a way that the wearer saw two slightly offset images. This is what caused the illusion of seeing through objects. Even the product's advertising admitted that the glasses didn't provide true X-ray vision. The glasses only created the illusion of X-ray sight. They were in fact only children's toys.
In the 1970s, a British punk rock band, inspired by the novelty toy, named themselves X-Ray Spex. The band released a single album, but none of the songs focused on the toys' make-believe capabilities. In Britain, a comic strip called X-Ray Specs appeared. It ran from 1975 until 1995. It narrated the adventures of a boy named Ray who had a set of these special glasses given to him by an optician.
Recent scientific developments have brought mankind a few steps closer to real X-ray glasses. ThruVision, a company based in Oxfordshire, UK, has recently developed an imaging system that can see through clothing from almost 80 feet away. Originally designed for astronomers and telescopes to help see through cosmic dust in outer space, the developers soon realised that the camera had other applications. There isn't a current wearable version of these cameras as the prototypes are too bulky. So, don't expect to be able to go to the shops to get yourself some X-ray sunglasses to use as spy goggles on see-through swimwear. However, with further development, X-ray goggles could soon become a reality.
There are currently some X-ray games, available as application downloads, for smartphones. The games are called see-through X-ray cameras, but in reality, the application cannot see-through your clothes like infrared glasses. They simply play an X-ray video that the user moves along their arm or leg to create the illusion of a real X-ray. They use video recorded images of real X-rays to do this.