Ever since I first heard about pin-hole cameras, I have always been fascinated by the notion that the role of a lens could be served simply by a pin-hole in a wall or the side of a box.
So I was curious and kind of excited to be asked by the good folks at http://www.pinhole-glasses.com to do an "unbiased review" of their product. That product? Well, if you can't tell from the website name, they're pinhole glasses. That is to say, instead of a lens or such, you have a completely opaque piece of plastic drilled through in a grid pattern with a bunch of holes.
Not exactly pin-sized holes, mind you. At least, if I got poked by pins this large, I'd be drained of my blood pretty quickly. Still, though, these holes are more than outnumbered with black, opaque plastic, and yet, you put them on, you can still see through them. Neat-o!
What are pinhole glasses for? Well, put simply, they're sold as an alternative to prescription glasses under certain conditions. I don't wear glasses, myself, but was assured "they can also be used for most activities where you are stationary (reading, writing, using a computer, watching TV, etc)".
It should be noted that I did not verify any of this with my doctor. I didn't see fit to spend a co-pay for a doctor's visit that was more than the cost of the glasses themselves (at $19.99, I guess the pinhole glasses cost $10 less than my co-pay, but then I still wanted to just buy lunch for that money, right?). So caveat emptor, I cannot say whether these glasses are indeed safe or not, regardless of what they say on their web site.
My own experience? Well, I was impressed with what you could see with these glasses. It's akin to wearing dark shades, since even thought the material is opaque, you do see enough with the holes to make an image.
But on the other hand you cannot go cruising around the town in these things. In their FAQ, they explicitly tell you not to drive in these things. After all, while you can see through the pin-sized holes, you aren't given any favors with your peripheral vision. In a like vein, I'll go out on a limb and suggest you not do any bike riding, either. Last I checked, riding a bike on public streets and sidewalks relied heavily on knowing when a pedestrian or Hum Vee was just in my blind spot. A bad day in anyone's book.
I wore it around the house, then, and once in a while I was daring enough to wear it in public. It got a lot of strange looks. My wife rolled her eyes up at me. And I got a headache.
Sadly, that last part happened most consistently. I finally convinced my friend Ed to try them on. Maybe it was just me, right? Maybe it would look studly on Ed, and I could report how it got him phone numbers from gorgeous ladies, and a spot on the evening news cast.
He got a headache instead. Just like me.
So what's it boil down to? Maybe I just get headaches. They're cheap enough, and unusual enough that they're worth blowing some cash on it.
But I won't be going out dancing in them. :-)