Marc Newson and Swarovski Optik create AI smart binoculars

The AX Visio binoculars by Swarovski Optik, revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show, were created by Marc Newson. These binoculars have been enhanced with artificial intelligence, allowing them to recognize various bird and animal species.

According to Swarovski Optik, which is a branch of the Swarovski group specializing in sports optics like binoculars and rifle scopes, the company believes that the AX Visio is the first-ever smart binoculars in the world. These binoculars have the ability to instantly recognize and identify over 9,000 different types of birds and wildlife.

The invention is primarily aimed towards birdwatchers, but it also caters to hunters. It features an enhanced reality display that projects species information onto the user’s front-facing image, eliminating the need to refer to a book, phone, or companion.

The AX Visio binoculars, seen from a top-down perspective, feature a dark green case and a black aluminium bridge with intricate details. The image shows a similar view from above, showcasing the sleek design by Marc Newson for Swarovski Optik.

In order to utilize the identification feature, users simply rotate a dial on the device resembling a digital camera to the bird or mammal mode and then press a button to initiate the identification process.

The Visio AX is equipped with a built-in camera that allows users to capture photos and videos. Additionally, it offers a “share discoveries” feature which enables users to indicate the location of a noteworthy object before passing the binoculars to someone else.

The AX Visio can still be used as a pair of traditional binoculars if the digital features are not activated. However, there is an additional lens placed between the standard two objective lenses to allow for the use of digital capabilities.

The AX Vision binoculars are shown in the image, with a representation of the augmented reality feature that identifies birds using AI, displayed over one lens. This rendering can be seen in the link provided by Dezeen.

According to Andreas Gerk, chief technology and operations officer of Swarovski Optik, the main benefit of using AX Visio is the enhanced viewing experience through digital input.

In a conversation on the Swarovski Optik website, Marc Newson, an industrial designer, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to design a groundbreaking product. He mentioned that incorporating advanced features such as augmented reality, Bluetooth, GPS, and a camera into such a compact device was a difficult task.

According to Newson, it is not common for a designer to create the initial product in a certain category, which is always a thrilling and demanding experience. Binoculars have typically been limited to analog functions, which, although they are intriguing and long-lasting, are essentially two-dimensional.

According to him, the AX Visio is a unique type that combines optics and technology in a completely new way. It can be compared to a modern camera as it has both optical and electronic features, while also being digital.

Newson’s AX Visio is their second offering for Swarovski Optik, following the compact CL Curio binoculars. It features an extruded aluminium bridge and focus wheel placement that is reminiscent of the design of the CL Curio.

According to Newson, his goal for the AX Visio was to make it “user-friendly, contemporary, and most importantly, easy to hold and look at”, while also giving it a touch of character.

According to the designer, his goal was to make the items feel friendly and easy to use. Typically, when creating high-performance products, they are intentionally made to be complex. However, the designer’s aim was to produce something that was the complete opposite – simple and welcoming.

According to the speaker, the design of the three-scope binoculars stands out visually due to its unique construction that includes a sturdy hinge and bridge connecting the three lenses. Developing this structure required a considerable amount of time and manufacturing knowledge.

According to Svarovski Optik, their AX Visio is built to have the capability of being disassembled and repaired. This is a standard feature for their brand and they assure that any future updates can be accessed through the accompanying app, ensuring a long product lifespan.

One of its features includes a publicly accessible programming interface, allowing external developers to create additional features for the binoculars.

An image showcasing a dining table adorned with drawings and two sets of AX Visio binoculars placed on top of it.

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world’s biggest trade fair for gadgets, the binoculars were unveiled.

Marc Newson, an Australian-born industrial designer, is widely recognized as one of the most prominent figures in the field. One of his earlier creations, the Lockheed Lounge from 1990, has set a record for being the most expensive design object in the world. His repertoire also includes luxurious items such as an all-diamond ring designed in collaboration with Jony Ive, and a limited-edition samurai sword created by his studio.


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