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I have a solid plate of steel I need to see through, as a mask. I need a wide FOV (at least 210 degrees). I cannot have any obstructions in the image, so no pinhole meshes or anything like that. Furthermore, I can drill no more than 4 small (pinhole) holes in it. It only covers my eyes and parts of my nose. Think ski goggle coverage.

I'm not well versed in optics, so I'd like to know how I could somehow "re-route" my vision, like a periscope, while maintaining a reasonable field of view. I've also looked into using VR headsets as a way to do this but none currently released have wide enough FOVs for my tastes.

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  • $\begingroup$ I dont have an answer for you, but I'm really curious as to what activity you are doing that requires a steel mask. $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Feb 25 '17 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ It's not actually a steel mask. I'm doing a cosplay of Wrench from Watchdogs 2. Look it up and you'll know what I'm talking about. I asked this question before but people kept thinking I was just trying to cover my face so I got useless suggestions like putting fabric over my face or pinholed material. I just said it was steel so there was no possible way it could be misconstrued. Edit: It still somehow got misconstrued. $\endgroup$ – user7595355 Feb 26 '17 at 4:15
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I looked up the character you mentioned. Actually the grid looks quite coarse. I counted about 20 pixels over the height of the mask. About 10 pixels per inch. I think you could easily drill a small (1/64") hole between every pixel, and then maybe cover the back with a black gauze. That should allow you to see out, but no one could see in. Seems to me that is the only real option

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The problem with any sort of camera or periscope type VR is that it is likely to be quite disorientating as your point of view will be changes plus camera lenses withe the required field of view will have a significantly different focal length to your eyes which will seriously alter your depth perception.

The angle through which your own eyes can clearly register images is actually quite narrow and a lot of the human filed of vision is achieved by rapid scanning eye movements and the brains ability to manufacture a composite image in fill in details as well as being able to process and detect points of interest and focus on them. All of this is very difficult to achieve with cameras trying to give real time information about the real world. In fact a wholly virtual reality is much easier to achieve than a replicating a real environment.

If you don't believe me try walking around or picking things up just looking through the view finder of a camera. There is also the problem of the minimum focal distance of the human eye, you simply won't be able to focus on a screen close enough to your eyes to fit in a goggle type setup.

Bear in mind that that the F35 fighter jet uses a similar system to what you want and that has had persistent problems despite the eye watering sums of money spent on it.

You can get materials which appear opaque from one side but allow pretty decent transparency form the other. Mirrored sunglasses are one obvious example pl;us there are various other coated plastics.

You have discounted meshes, fine mesh and perforated sheet can give pretty good vision, they are, for example used for eye protection in air-soft and mesh face I have personally used mesh face shields in foundry work where I can assure you you need excellent depth perception and peripheral vision.

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  • $\begingroup$ It needs to be completely solid. No openings that are transparent or meshed/pinholed/whatever in ANY fashion. Visualize wearing a steel plate on your face. That is the problem I am dealing with. I do appreciate the explanations with the VR, though. $\endgroup$ – user7595355 Feb 26 '17 at 4:19

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