After seeing this handheld pixel filter prism on Twitter, I'm haunted by an insatiable urge to pixelate everything in my home

Hachiware pixelated by monoli's Pixel Window.
(Image credit: monoli/@Hakusi_Katei on Twitter)

There was an earlier time on the internet where it felt like there was a constant stream of little tchotchkes and gadgets to stumble upon and develop intense fixations over. I'm not sure what changed—learning firsthand how tight disposable income is probably had a part—but online trinkets don't hit like they used to. Now, the only trinkets I see are what surfaces from the homogeneous soup of nerdy Etsy products and this one ad that inflicted me with the knowledge that there's a niche market of dudes who want to buy beard straighteners. But today was different. Today, I found the Pixel Window. 

The Pixel Window is an in-development project from monoli, a Japanese material designer and art student-turned-engineering Ph.D. who blends those backgrounds to, as a Google translation of monoli's webshop puts it, create "a small laboratory you can wear." Monoli's made a series of wearable and handheld prisms, including color-diffracting cubes and the Pixel Mirror, which produces an inverted pixel image of what's behind it.

Following in the Pixel Mirror's footsteps, monoli has been teasing a successor since February, finally revealing the Pixel Window at the end of June. Compared to the Pixel Mirror, monoli's latest creation produces an uninverted pixelated image with cleaner, crisper edges. In monoli's words, it "minecrafts scenery without electricity."

(Image credit: monoli/@Hakusi_Katei on Twitter)

I want one very badly—and not just because I want to see what my cat looks like pixelated without firing up some filters in Photoshop. Sure, I like some quality pixel art as much as the next guy, but at a younger age I'd considered trying to go into professional art. Instead, I chose the boundless financial bounty of writing for digital media and left art as a hobby, in part because I barely understand how color works and it makes me feel inadequate. But a tool like the Pixel Window has some real utility for artists, providing an immediate, readable distillation of a scene's hues and values. 

"Look at this thing. Look at those fat swatches. Details smashed. Incredibly legible values," said @Stretchedwiener, an artist with a deeply unfortunate Twitter handle. "Could be standard kit for any artist."

Monoli is still working on the Pixel Window, but is "aiming for" eventual sale. However, those of us outside of Japan will need to keep a close eye on Monoli's tweets, because international sales and shipping are only available during brief windows. Until then, I'll be here looking at all the world's smooth curves, like a chump. 

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.