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The Ultimate Birdwatching Companion: Marc Newson’s AI-powered Swarovski Optik Binoculars

Marc Newson x AX Visio Binoculars by Swarovski Optik

Swarovski Optik

Unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the AX Visio binoculars by Swarovski Optik, designed by Marc Newson, boast an impressive feature – artificial intelligence. Swarovski Optik, a division of the Swarovski group specializing in sports optics like binoculars and rifle scopes, proudly claims that the AX Visio is the world’s first intelligent binoculars. With the ability to identify approximately 9,000 species of birds and wildlife in real time, these binoculars cater primarily to birdwatchers and hunters.

What sets the AX Visio apart is its augmented reality display, which allows users to view species information superimposed on the image they see through the binoculars. This eliminates the need for users to divert their attention to consult a book, phone, or even a friend. The innovative design ensures that users can seamlessly access relevant information without any distractions, enhancing their overall experience.

Marc Newson x AX Visio Binoculars by Swarovski Optik

To activate the bird or mammal identification mode, users simply rotate a dial resembling that of a digital camera. Once enabled, they can initiate the identification process by pressing a button. The AX Visio goes beyond just identification – it also comes equipped with a camera for capturing photos and videos. Additionally, there’s a handy “share discoveries” mode that allows users to mark the spot where they found something interesting before passing the binoculars to someone else.

Even without the digital features turned on, the AX Visio still serves as a pair of traditional binoculars. It even has an extra lens positioned between the usual two objective lenses to facilitate the digital functionalities.

Marc Newson x AX Visio Binoculars by Swarovski Optik

Andreas Gerk, the chief technology and operations officer at Swarovski Optik, highlighted the added value of the AX Visio for users, emphasizing its immersive viewing experience and the incorporation of digital input. In an interview on the Swarovski Optik website, industrial designer Marc Newson expressed his excitement and the challenges he faced while working on this groundbreaking product. He mentioned that integrating augmented reality, Bluetooth, GPS, and a camera into such a compact device was a remarkable feat. Newson also noted that binoculars, being traditionally analog objects, presented a unique opportunity to create a product that is both compelling and future-proof, despite their inherently two-dimensional nature.

The AX Visio represents a unique category that combines both optics and technology, making it distinct from other products in its field. This innovative approach is evident in its design, which incorporates elements of both traditional and modern binoculars. The extruded aluminium bridge and focus wheel placement, similar to the CL Curio, contribute to its sleek and user-friendly appearance.

The intention behind the design of the AX Visio was to create a product that is approachable and easy to use. Often, high-performance items tend to be intentionally complex, but the aim here was to develop something that is intuitive and inviting. This emphasis on user-friendliness sets the AX Visio apart from its counterparts.

Marc Newson x AX Visio Binoculars by Swarovski Optik

The construction of the AX Visio is visually distinctive, particularly due to its three-scope design. This includes a solid hinge and bridge detail that connects the three lenses, resulting in a visually striking aesthetic. The development of this structure required a significant amount of time and manufacturing expertise to ensure its functionality and durability.

Swarovski Optik has designed the AX Visio with repairability in mind, allowing it to be easily taken apart and serviced. This commitment to longevity is a standard practice for the brand, and they have also ensured that future updates for the product will be available through a companion app. This approach ensures that the AX Visio can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Furthermore, the AX Visio offers an open programming interface, inviting external providers to develop new functionalities for the binoculars. This openness to collaboration and innovation further enhances the potential of the product and allows for continuous improvement and expansion of its capabilities.