Created By: Subotan on March 1, 2011 Last Edited By: Catbert on February 19, 2012

Data Display Headset

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Page Type:
Trope
A sci-fi or exceptionally tech-savvy character needs to use a computer, whether to contact allies, scan for vital data on the McGuffin, or precision-target a rabble of mooks. The only problem is, computers have a habit of making even the coolest of characters look a bit geeky, and then there's the whole sitting down issue, the staring into a monitor etc. Far better to somehow integrate the computer onto the person of the character, preferably in a somewhat awesome and futuristic way. The answer? The Data Display Headset - usually a computer screen suspended a few inches in front of the eye by a piece of plastic reaching back to the ear.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

Film

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Comics
  • Rose Lalonde in Homestuck has the Hubtopband

Western Animation
  • Fry in Futurama gets an eyePhone - this is an interesting example, as the hardware is actually installed between his eyeball and his eye socket.

Real Life
  • The United States military spent loads of money trying to develop something similar in their Land Warrior programme.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • March 1, 2011
    Bisected8
    The scooters from Dragonball Z.
  • March 1, 2011
    Chabal2
    Auspexes in Warhammer 40 K.

  • March 1, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
  • March 1, 2011
    Jmacq1
    Pops up all over the place in the Mass Effect universe.
  • March 1, 2011
    Deboss
    Can't use animate GIF pictures. It's also in the bottom for some reason.
  • March 1, 2011
    Subotan
    What's wrong with GIF s? I changed it to a png anyway, but I'm just curious.

    Also, I googled the Dragonball example, and it said the correct term was scouters. Is that right?
  • March 1, 2011
    pcw27
    A similar device is used for a HUD in Stargate SG 1.
  • March 1, 2011
    Micah
    The Futurama example is Not A Subversion.
  • March 1, 2011
    EternalSeptember
    edited for formatting. You have to use either Wiki Words, or {{ tags, but not both.
  • March 1, 2011
    Subotan
    Ok, thanks. This is pretty much my first attempt ever at editing, so thanks for the pointers.
  • March 1, 2011
    DAN004
    What's the difference with the Monocle?
  • March 1, 2011
    Psyga315
  • March 1, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^ This is a high tech screen with buttons and stuff over one eye, a Monocle is a tradition monocle, a ring with glass in it to help you see (in one eye), or just look rich.
  • March 2, 2011
    Medinoc
  • June 7, 2011
    lars_h
    The "gargoyles" in Snow Crash would be this, I suppose.

    Is it necessary that the device covers just one eye? I'm reminded of Sailor Mercury's visor, which is effectively a Heads Up Display.
  • June 8, 2011
    Valentine
    We have Heads Up Display and Augmented Reality, which pretty much covers the device itself, but it looks like you're writing this from a character angle, so I'm not sure if it's too similar or not.

    Really don't like the name though - I Thought It Meant "everybody has to do exactly the same thing to be seen as cool" or something...
  • June 8, 2011
    Arca
    @lars: That'd probably be Goggles Do Something Unusual.
  • June 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • June 9, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
  • June 9, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Given the existence of Real Life examples, you might want to discard the judgment that it is impracticable.

  • June 19, 2011
    TBeholder
    @Auxdarastrix: Why?
  • June 19, 2011
    Valentine
    @ T Beholder: The OP's description says the equipment is impractical, but there are several Real Life examples, showing that it clearly isn't impractical, so obviously that statement should be cut from the description.
  • June 19, 2011
    TBeholder
    Yep, but practical examples are "as a part of a bigger set of vehicle controls" which naturally doesn't fall under the interface problem OP mentioned.
  • June 19, 2011
    EmbracingShadows
    I'm pretty sure they used one of these to detect Shadow Pokemon in Pokemon XD Gale Of Darkness.
  • June 20, 2011
    Valentine
    @T Beholder: Not necessarily. Have a look at Augmented Reality and Auxdarastrix's link to the device that provides soldiers with video from an aerial drone's view of the battlefield. There are at least some possible examples of this which are not impractical in real life.
  • June 20, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Now that I look at it more, I think what he is trying to get at is specifically headsets that have no visible controls. However, the Land Warrior example undermines this definition, as it most certainly had controls built in. Also, I would imagine that a closer examination of some of the fictional examples would show that they had some sort of interface, even it is is only verbal or mental. So, what would be needed is rewrite of the last sentance to make it clear that the judgement that it is impractible applies only to cases with no interface. Either that or just ditch the question of practiblity, 'cause whether or not something is practical in real life has little impact on the trope as a whole.
  • June 20, 2011
    jaytee
    Earth2 has these. You can fold it over one eye for a kind of Heads Up Display or communicator, or it can unfold over both eyes to allow access to some kind of VR world.
  • June 20, 2011
    shimaspawn
    Good trope, but the name is a bit lacking. It sounds like cool people wear monocles, when it's really a tech trope.
  • August 12, 2011
    Arivne
    Data Display Headset?

    Tabletop Games
    • MegaTraveller supplement World Builder's Handbook. The equipment section has the Data/Display Headset, a headset with a clear glass plate in front of the right eye that can display data to be read by the wearer. The wearer can choose which devices to obtain data from by moving his/her head.
    • Heavy Gear Equipment Catalog. The Heads-Up Interface is a monocle headpiece attached to a small box that sits behind the ear, which contains the HUI's power supply, an interface port and a small speaker. It also includes a throat microphone that transmits signals to the interface port. Information from the computer is displayed on the monocle, and the microphone allows the user to give instructions to the computer.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    This looks almost ready for launch.

    Does someone want to take it over?
  • February 18, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Huh, I thought we had this one.

    If no one else will, I'll take it for a countdown, but the description seems a bit on the short side. Maybe that's OK.

    Examples:

    • In Gall Force, solnoid landing ships (such as the Blossom) are equipped with "communications helmets" (as seen here) for the crew so they can stay in touch while outside the spacecraft. The transparent portions provide a Heads Up Display.
      • In Gall Force: Earth Chapter, Sandy uses one as well.
  • February 18, 2012
    bertrc
    Um . . . How is it possible nobody has mentioned:

    Examples:

    • The targetting scanners used by the rebels while flying toward the exhaust vent in Star Trek: A New Hope.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    ^They haven't been mentioned because they aren't examples.

    This is a subtrope of Heads Up Display, limited to HUD devices that the character wears. Fighter cockpit displays and the like don't really count.
  • February 19, 2012
    captainpat
    Should these examples explain what information these devices are displaying?
  • February 19, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^I don't know that that's necessary. The trope is about a wearable visual display technology, not what it's used for, correct?
  • February 19, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
    Video Game example: ( Maybe )
    • Halo: Some of the NPC Marines wear a helmet with a small one. We never see what the mini screen actually displays...
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