Swarovski, a leading name in high-end binoculars, announced the AX Visio binoculars: the world’s first AI-supported system that is capable of recognizing over 9,000 animal species. They also feature a 13-megapixel sensor and photo/video capture capability.
The AX Visio are a 10x magnification set of binoculars that feature a 112 meter field of view at 1,000 meters and go beyond typical binoculars thanks to a battery-powered set of intelligent features. The company says it aims to assist bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts in the field through smart, AI-assisted functions as well as the ability to take photos and videos.
Running on a modified version of Android, the binoculars are equipped with AI subject recognition that is able to identify birds and other animals (over 9,000 total species) to help inform users of exactly what they are observing. That information is displayed in the diopters of the binoculars and also embedded in the metadata of any photos that are captured using them.
That’s right, these aren’t just binoculars for observation: the AX Visio is also a camera. The binoculars can capture photos and videos of observations which allows users to revisit those experiences later or share those findings with other enthusiasts. The AX Visio binoculars are equipped with a 13-megapixel camera (4,208 x 3,120 pixels) and can capture videos at in three resolutions/frame rates: 640×480, HD 1280×720, and Full HD 1920×1080 at 30 or 60 frames per second.
“The AX Visio 10×32 adds new dimensions to natural experiences with numerous functions: intelligent technology combined with high-precision analog optics in SWAROVISION quality assist with real-time identification of more than 9,000 birds and other wildlife,” Swarovski boasts.
Swarovski has shared a large amount of technical information on the AX Visio binoculars but, at least from the perspective of photographers who are used to looking at camera data sheets, a lot of information isn’t included such as the sensor size or how long a video clip can be. It does, however, show that the binoculars can hold a maximum of 28GB at a time.
On that note, the AX Visio don’t appear to have any removable storage media but instead rely on wireless transmission of captured photos and videos via either Bluetooth or WiFi to a dedicated app (iOS and Android are both supported). In the instructional video below, the company’s representatives indicate that the connection defaults to Bluetooth but if the files are too large, it will request a WiFi connection to facilitate the transfer.
Swarovski says it has been developing the AX Visio binoculars for five years.
“The intelligent core of the AX Visio is its integrated operating and object-recognition system. A Neural Processing Unit (NPU) ensures exceptionally fast processing of relevant information for object recognition. The SWAROVSKI OPTIK Outdoor App allows users to manage and share images. All device settings and future updates are also carried out in the app. The AX Visio concept ensures a product life cycle for the device over many years,” the company says.
Swarovski’s product page doesn’t show any sample photos, but the company did publish a blog post that shows a few small sample photos that give an idea of image quality. Photographers are not likely to be impressed and the images show how much of a quality difference there is between camera optics and binocular optics, but most birders who don’t own dedicated camera hardware are likely to be happy they can share the animals they see at all — that’s already a big step up from just sharing a story.
The Swarovski AX Visio binoculars are expected to be available in February 2024 for $4,799.
Image credits: Swarovski