Although it hasn't been established yet if the K'Nes, Jurvain, or Vulthra have their own version of umbral goggles, given the K'Nes talent for
stealing adopting new technologies, it's a safe guess they have it and sold it to the Jurvain too.
How They WorkEdit
Umbral goggles are a simple and mass-produced variation of the etheral goggles used by the Sons of Ether. The lenses are filled with ether gathered from the umbral plane rather than the material plane. When electrical current is passed through this colorless and odorless gas, it lets the wearer peer past the Gauntlet into the Umbra (and causes the lenses to glow). Modifying the flow of current can alter the display from a dim, near-transparent view of the umbral plane overlaid on the material plane all the way up to a near-solid umbral view that almost obscures the material plane, and any point in between those two extremes.
Umbral goggles do not require a crystalline battery for a quintessence source, but do need a normal electrical battery, and will stop working when the battery is drained. If the lenses are cracked and the umbral ether escapes, the goggles are useless.
In the military, umbral goggles are used by sentries and scouts to detect hostile saboteurs, spies, and scouts trying to sneak past their perimeter through the umbra, and to watch for enemies sneak-attacking from the umbra (as Alistar Dimiye once did successfully against the Eastern Bloc on Epsilon).
Although it's not standard equipment, a modified form of umbral goggles could be installed in a suit of power armor, although the relatively fragile umbral lenses somewhat limits their effectiveness in combat.
Among civilians, although umbral goggles have a handful of scientific and industrial applications (mainly in manufacturing magitech), they're primarily used by government agencies and corporate security in the same way and for the same reasons as the military use them. Videocameras and holocameras can also be fit with umbral lenses, allowing a single guard with a bank of monitors to view the umbral plane around the entire secured area.
Two problems with umbral goggles are Incomprehension and Insanity.
The umbral plane is very different from the material plane; it's much more symbolic and metaphorical. For example, a destroyer being attacked by a squadron of starfighters may manifest in the umbra as a dragon being attacked by a swarm of bees. Unless a user has been specifically trained to recognize and identify what they see through umbral goggles, they may not understand what they're looking at.
The umbral plane is a completely different reality. In addition to its maddeningly metaphorical nature, it's home to horrifying creatures called umbrood (better known as demons). Even experienced spirit mages and werecreatures can lose their grip on reality by spending too much time in the umbra. For untrained, unawakened people, this risk is much higher. Looking into the umbra too long and too often will almost certainly gradually lead to developing neurosis and phobias, and may even trigger a psychotic break leading to utter madness. Consequently, it is best to use umbral goggles only when necessary, and to avoid prolonged use.
Legality & AvailabilityEdit
Under the Earth Federation, umbral goggles were usually only available to the Tech Infantry, Light Infantry, InSec, and other governmental security services. In rare cases, certain civilian organizations were allowed to use them, but only if they could demonstrate a specific industrial or scientific need for it. Even then, the goggles were registered and carefully controlled.
How legal (and thus available) umbral goggles are in the Holy Terran Empire varies widely from planet to planet. Given how potentially dangerous they can be, though, all but the most libertarian planets will at the very least consider them a licensed item, like a car or firearm. (For example, you can only get a driver's license once you've been trained, passed a road test, and registered the vehicle).
Like all magitech, umbral goggles are expensive, even when obtained legally. Although they can almost always be found on the black market if you look hard enough, they'll be rare and extremely expensive.