Scientists Just Invented Real Working X-Ray Glasses

MIT researchers customized a Microsoft Hololens to let them view objects using radio frequencies.

By Mark McKee | Updated

ryan reynolds

If you have ever wanted to possess the superpower of x-ray vision, you may have thought it was only possible if you were from Krypton. However, thanks to a new technology, you may be barking up the wrong tree while thinking about Supergirl, as the reality of seeing through objects lies more with tech, making Iron Man or Batman a more appropriate idea. According to The Byte, scientists from MIT have developed a pair of x-ray glasses that can give you the powers of Iron Man, at least almost. 

According to the report, a group at MIT developed a device using a modified version of a Microsoft Holonens headset they call X-AR. The tech sends out RFID (radio frequency identification) to tagged items, allowing the wearer of the headset to find items. So, to be more transparent (pun intended), the x-ray glasses only will enable the wearer to find previously tagged items as opposed to seeing everything on the other side of a wall or in a box. 

Fadel Adib, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and senior author of the paper, revealed that the project’s goal was to use augmented reality to allow us to see things in boxes or around corners. While x-ray vision is one of the more fun and intriguing superpowers used in comics, the reality (as of now) is much less dramatic, as it is likely only deployable in a warehouse or similar environments. Of course, that means that warehouse workers will be able to find items quickly and easily, which can make it a useful technology for businesses, such as Wal-Mart, all over multiple industries. 

Microsoft Hololens, the base for the X-AR

Like most technologies, the first iteration of the x-ray glasses is in a stage that wouldn’t be sellable to customers, as there are some limitations. For instance, the current pair of glasses has a ten-foot range, meaning that in a giant warehouse, a worker would need to know nearly precisely where the item they are searching for is anyway. However, once they perfect the tech, the tech can pinpoint items to within four inches at a rate of 96 percent accuracy. 

The other setback to a new technology like the x-ray glasses is the work that companies may need to do to make them workable. If they only work when items they are looking for are tagged with RFID, companies may need to go through the work to get all of their products tagged, which in massive warehouses could be a laboriously prohibited proposition. 

Of course, there are always setbacks, glitches, and early stages that developers have to go through when introducing a new technology. And one thing is certain, there is nothing like the x-ray glasses on the market as of yet, and these represent a massive step forward in giving humans superhero abilities. If you have always dreamed of being superhuman, you may need to start looking into a career in a warehouse, and the folks over at MIT have you covered.