Comics of the 70's, and early 80's were graced with mail-order children's novelty advertisements. These, I used to practically drool over, but it was torturous, as they never posted outside of the US. There were two items that I coveted most (well, three if you include 'Kissing Secrets' but that's a bit embarrassing)... The classic 'Sea Monkeys' (more about them in another post), and the infamous 'X-Ray Specs'.
I've spent most of my life pondering if they actually worked or not, and now, thanks to the modern-day wonder of Wikipedia, the secret is out... and it's a resounding 'not'. The lenses consisted of two layers of cardboard with a small hole in diameter punched through both layers. A feather was embedded between the layers of each lens. The vanes of the feathers diffracted light causing the user to receive two slightly offset images. For instance, if viewing a pencil, you would see two offset images of the pencil. Where the images overlapped, a darker image was seen, giving the illusion of seeing the graphite embedded within the pencil.
The cheesy X-Ray Vision gimmick of yesteryear, probably disappointed American kids by the thousands. Those kids now have another opportunity to 'see through clothes' for real.
Enter the X-Reflect Glasses. The Advanced Intelligence Company, Ltd. manufactures a device called X-Reflect Glasses which is claimed to allow the user to partly see through certain types of clothing. These goggles are a variation of thermal imaging goggles, and retail for US$2400.
I can see their value in regards to intelligence and anti-terrorism, but shouldn't x-ray vision be prohibited to save us innocent from daylight voyeurism?
The manufacturers state that approximately 45% of swimwear can be seen through as though seeing through glass. Honestly, with the skimpy underwear people call swimwear these days would it make much difference?
So, next time you are enjoying a relaxing swim at the public pools and happen to see a strange person wearing strange glasses wired to a strange box looking really strange (and creepy), you may have spotted a daylight peeping tom. I wonder if he was 'accidentally' pushed into the pool, would the glasses' battery pack electrocute him?