Does life get you down? Does the world seem hard or tough? Do people seem stupid, obnoxious or daft? If you've had quite enough of all that, just tune it all out with this totally immersive, 3D, virtual reality, motion-sensing, gesture-enabled very fancy hat.
Instead of asking what these goggles (called Natalia) are, it might be faster to ask what they aren't, because they seriously seem to be able to do almost everything.You get two individual SXGA (1280x1024) OLED eye displays, which means that you can get 3D without any headaches. Stereo over-ear headphones and a mic come standard. Also standard is a head tracking system that's set up so that moving your head moves whatever you're looking at inside the goggles. The front of the goggles have cameras that look out in front of you to provide hand tracking for gesture recognition. And inertial sensors know when and how you move (whether it's walking or jumping up and down), and those motions can be passed back into the virtual world too.
Under its three pound hood, Natalia is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a graphics accelerator, a gig of memory, and Android 4.0. It's also got a bunch of rechargeable batteries in there, so you can use the goggles completely untethered (in public!) for about an hour. Put all this together, and hypothetically you could play a game out in the real world, running and looking around and doing things with your arms and all of that would be translated directly to your in-game character. Yeah, you run the risk of smashing headlong into a tree, but that can just be part of the realistic experience.
The prototype we checked out at CES is fully operational, although someone had just broken one of their two pairs so we didn't do a heads-on for ourselves. Sensics has been making things like this for the military for a decade. It's currently in talks with manufacturers, and you might be seeing these things up for sale by the end of the year somewhere south (but not far south) of $1,000.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. All photos by Evan Ackerman/DVICE