Ingineo Eyetop

Some day you’ll be able to discreetly Google the name of a new acquaintance using a heads-up display built into your eyeglasses, all without interrupting the flow of conversation.

Dream on. Ingineo’s new Eyetop tries to bring that day a bit closer, but in a way that only a masochistic, Cheetos-eating Linux geek could appreciate.

The Eyetop is a pair of vaguely hipsteresque black sunglasses with a chunky blob grafted onto the right side. Inside is a tiny LCD and a small lens aimed at your right eye (a left-eye version is also available). A three-foot cable sprouting from the glasses leads to a battery-control pack.

You plug one end of a composite video cable into the pack and the other end into a video source, such as a TV, game console, or portable DVD player, and voila: Let the torture begin.

Turn everything on and a video image appears to the extreme right side of your field of vision. The image is crisp enough to watch movies, but even when adjusted to its centermost position, it’s still so far on the periphery as to cause eye strain. Video games are almost unplayable, and the resolution is too low for computer work. We found that even 10 minutes of use led to headaches and weeping.

What’s more, the Eyetop’s LCD hardware makes it heavy and unbalanced on the face, and its tangle of cables makes it awkward to hold.

For street cred at the next science fiction convention, the Eyetop can’t be beat. But don’t plan on actually using it much — if you value your eyesight, that is. -Dylan Tweney

SPECS:
Ingineo Eyetop
$450
Weight: 3.6 ounces (glasses and cable), 8 ounces (control pack, with batteries)
Size: 4.3 x 3.2 x 1.3 inches
Specs: 320 x 240-pixel, 16-bit color LCD; RCA video jack; 4 AA batteries required
www.eyetop.net

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Ingineo Eyetop