Appeared in Swarovski CES 2024 With the first pair of smart binoculars that will recognize the bird you’re looking at in Las Vegas. All you have to do is point the gear at the bird and make sure the view is in focus and then press the action button. In a few seconds, the system will use the information taken from the screen to place the name of the bird on your view. Merlin Bird ID database. It has more than 9,000 species, and even if the bird in question is in an unexpected location, it will tell you its degree of certainty. And if that were the only feature of these binoculars, it would be enough to justify the purchase, but that’s just the beginning of what these things can do.
Between the eyecups is a function wheel similar to what you would find on a camera, allowing you to cycle through different functions. This includes the Wildlife ID version, which includes the Mammal, Dragonfly and Butterfly ID databases. Plus, there’s a camera that lets you send pictures and videos to a paired smartphone, which is similarly enough to justify the expense. But the system is also designed to be expandable, including space for any future custom databases you might need on the focus wheel. For example, one idea might be to create a database for the stars, or for air enthusiasts to find the make and model of aircraft types overhead.
Then there’s the discovery sharing feature, which lets you share something you find with anyone you’re outdoors with. All you have to do is label everything you find and then hand them the AX Visio, where a series of flashing arrows will guide them to where you’re looking. Even in the crowded halls of CES, one of the company representatives was able to pinpoint a distant fire exit sign before handing me his binoculars and asking me to find it. All you have to do is follow the arrows directly to what you need to see with a system that is as elegant as it is useful. There’s even a built-in compass that lets you determine which direction you’re facing to help you navigate.
As you can see from the pictures, there are three lenses, with a central 13-megapixel sensor that takes HD quality (1920 x 1080) photos and videos. There’s 8GB of storage, which should store up to an hour of video or 1,700 photos before being wiped. In addition to being smart, the binoculars are 10x magnified with 88 percent light transmission thanks to the company’s premium lenses. Swarovski says its glassware delivers nearly flat, distortion-free images with plenty of contrast and color fidelity.
Now here’s the thing, my father-in-law is a serious ornithologist, at least respected among his peers. His ability to detect the gender and species of a bird in flight is extraordinary and I am often amazed at the depth of his knowledge. I don’t think I’ll have the ability, the patience, or the time to go a hundred miles beyond his capabilities. But, with a device like this, it could mean I can at least vaguely keep up with it when we’re on the road.
AX Visio It doesn’t come with a price tag, however, and Swarovski will charge you €4,600 (about $5,000) to get your hands on it. It should start arriving in people’s homes in February, although bird lovers often have to be patient.
We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas, January 6-12. Stay up to date with the latest news from the show here.