Here is a truly curious bit of arcana, the Isolator Helmet, the dream child of a rather odd man by the name of Hugo Gernsback who “invented” this weird device in 1925 as an aid to concentration. He reasoned as follows : When working, the main problem is distraction, so if you can isolate the individual 100% from all possible surrounding influences, then he or she will be able to give their full attention to the the task on hand.
So he sat down and invented this truly odd helmet. Obviously it hasn’t achieved the full 100% isolation from outside distractions (you can still feel things), but it does a really good job of removing all other distractions as it has the following specs.
- It isolates the wearer totally from all outside noises
- It ensures that you can only see a very narrow field of vision, so no peripheral vision distractions,
- It prevents you feeling any changes in temperature – well at least on your face
- And for some obscure reason, it also provides the wearer with his own supply of Oxygen. Not sure what the purpose is for this bit, especially as we are not designed to breath pure Oxygen.
Hugo Gernsbach is also more or less the father of the Sci-Fi magazine, as he also wrote Sci-Fi and published a lot of these stories in his magazine Science and Invention. This magazine was aimed at amateur engineers, and inventors of devices such as this strange helmet, and of course, given that the word is full of people who invent strange and relatively useless devices such as this one, it was a very successful magazine.
He also founded the most famous of all Sci-Fi magazines Amazing Tales, and of course the equally famous Hugo Awards are named after him.
Sadly the Isolator was not really a success, and he never managed to find anyone interested in producing it in commercial quantities, but none the less it remains in our minds as a truly inspired and odd gadget, and a very powerful image…