Image: Toshiba headgear
Shuji Kajiyama  /  AP
Toshiba Corp. employee Aira Hotta demonstrates prototype headgear that enables her to get a 360-degree view on a dome-shaped screen. Toshiba, which plans to market the gadget within 2 to 3 years, aiming at attracting people such as virtual reality gamers.
updated 10/25/2006 8:41:32 PM ET 2006-10-26T00:41:32

It's about as glamorous as wearing an old-style TV set on your head, but the dome-shaped headgear from Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. isn't meant to be fashionable. It's designed to show images in a 360-degree view — synched with the motion of the wearer's head to deliver the illusion of being someplace else: a cityscape at night, for example, or outer space.

The still experimental 6-pound bubble-headed helmet has infrared sensors on top that detect which way the wearer's head is moving. A projector in the back of the helmet displays corresponding images on a 16-inch screen right before the user's eyes.

Although the headgear looks bulky, it's actually smaller than older versions of the same technology, Toshiba spokeswoman Kaori Hiraki said.

But Toshiba has no plans yet to turn the helmet into a commercial virtual-reality product. Eventually, Toshiba believes, it will come in handy for computer games or enhancing the impact of movies.

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