A seriously odd announcement from camera maker Nikon, the Media Port UP300 and UP300x video headset approaches wearable PC territory. The device, which honestly looks like a pair of headphones with a small display tacked on, actually has a pretty impressive spec sheet: up to 8GB of flash memory for videos, audio and file storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, a full-featured internet browser and on the 300x model, even motion control. Browsing would have to be frustrating on a setup like this, but the Wi-Fi connection can also be used to download audio and video content directly to the device.
The UP300 sits in an interesting place, exceeding the hardware capability of simple video goggles from Zeiss and Myvu but falling short of the full-fledged PC glasses that we were taught to expect by that stupid Beyond 2000 show. There also may be some applications outside of the consumer space, like as audio/video tour guide replacements. Sorry, HUD-loving nerds — Japan only for now. Full presser below. [Akihabara]
The Media Port UP300x and UP300
October 7, 2008
Nikon Corporation (Michio Kariya, President) is pleased to announce the successful development of the Media Port UP ("UP" read as individual letters), a multimedia playback headset device that also supports Internet connection. This innovative product, which incorporates display, headphones, mobile A/V player, Wi-Fi capability, high-capacity memory, and power source in a single compact unit is the first of its type. The UP allows users to easily enjoy high-quality images, videos, and music anywhere. Two UP models will be available—the high-performance UP300x and the basic UP300. The Media Port UP will be available only in Japan through the Nikon Imaging Japan Inc. (Takao Nishioka, President) online UP Store (http://www.upstore.jp/).
* Multimedia playback device in headset form, according to Nikon survey as of October 7, 2008.
* The single, compact unit allows for simple enjoyment of videos and music anyplace and anytime, while leaving the hands free to do other things.
* Enjoy image and video viewing with a sensation equivalent to that of viewing of a 50-inch large screen from a distance of three meters.
* An extremely compact and lightweight display that offers excellent image quality achieved with optics made possible through development and adoption of a new adhesion double-layer diffractive optical element (DOE) lens.
* The high-performance UP300x is equipped with a built-in motion sensor that allows for hands free operation, including volume adjustment, by moving the head up or down, left or right.
* The UP300x is equipped with an 8 GB internal memory while the UP300 offers 4 GB of internal memory.
* Designed with a high eyepoint and diopter adjustment so that even those who wear glasses will find the display easy to view.
* In addition to Web browsing via Internet connection using the built-in Wi-Fi function, media contents can also be downloaded.
* A service for UP users that allows for the distribution of video contents will be initiated. Users will be able to easily select desired contents and download media files to their UP for viewing and listening enjoyment.
* As Windows Media Player (WMP) files are also supported, compatible media files saved to a computer can also be transferred to a UP for viewing and listening enjoyment.
Nikon has a long history of development of a variety of products that allow for the simple enjoyment of high-quality imaging, beginning of course, with digital cameras. In recent years, the digital wave has led to great changes in the ways in which images, videos and music are enjoyed. Nikon recognises the fact that modern people are now able to increase the value of time with the ability to access and enjoy information available with today's imaging and audio capabilities using a few minutes of spare time. Sitting comfortably on the head, this product allows immediate access to a variety of information as a device that can accompany users in their everyday lives. The UP models developed by Nikon are the world's first products of this type to incorporate all of the features available with various mobile devices, such as image and audio playback, communications, built-in memory, and simple power source, in a single unit. What's more, these features have been incorporated into a product with the same size and weight as conventional sound-isolating headphones.
High-definition image and video playback was achieved with the development and adoption of Nikon's exclusive new optics technology for the UP display. In addition, this product was also designed with high-quality speakers and superior operation and feel. This is a new genre of product that combines the optics, human interface, and digital imaging technologies Nikon has spent decades accumulating with new audio and Internet technologies.
Origin of the UP name
Nikon has named this innovative product "UP". This name was taken from a number of word combinations that may be used to described the broad functionality and uses of this product, including "universal port", "ubiquitous player", "ultimate player", "U (your) partner", "U (your) pleasure", and "U (your) power". As the first product in a brand new genre, we chose the name "UP" for both its simplicity and its presence.
1. All-in-one, hands free enjoyment
An all-in-one design that offers display, headphones, mobile A/V player, Wi-Fi capability, and Internet connection in a single unit. An ergonomic design arch form that reflects basic Nikon characteristics such as simplicity and ease-of-use, while offering innovation and a high-quality feel.
2. Clear and easy-to-see high-quality display
The display incorporates a liquid crystal display, backlight, and newly developed optics that enable display zoom. This new technology is the result of the technologies and know how cultivated by Nikon with our development of SLR camera viewfinders and eyeglasses. Though extremely compact and lightweight, the UP allows users to enjoy clear and beautiful images, without distortion.
3. Adhesion double-layer DOE lens enables compact, lightweight, high-quality display
The optics adopted for UP display incorporate Nikon's exclusive adhesion double-layer DOE lens. While most common lenses use refraction to change the direction in which light moves, diffractive optical elements (DOE) use light diffraction. A diffraction grating, shaped like the teeth of a saw with separation of tens to hundreds of micrometers, suppresses chromatic aberration to reproduce crisp and clear VGA images. What's more, this allows for an optical system with a weight of approximately 1/7 that of conventional lens optics (comparison of Nikon designs).
4. Internet connection via built-in Wi-Fi capability
Internet connection* via a wireless LAN network is made possible with built-in Wi-Fi capability. Our original online service, UP Link, enables Web browsing and download of media contents for viewing and listening enjoyment.
*Registration with a supported Internet service provider required. All functions may not be supported with some network connections.
5. Integrated design allows for superior sound quality
The integration of amplifier and speakers in a single unit enables optimization of sound quality. As no external cable connection is required, noise is minimized for pure sound quality. The built-in driver unit is a highly magnetic 40 mm neodymium unit, which offers superior sound with realistic sensation. In addition, the large earpads are made of soft, viscoelastic urethane for a comfortable and secure fit.
6. Movie and music player with multi-codec support
WMV9 and MPEG-1, MPEG-2 movies, and MP3, AAC, and WMA9 audio files are supported.
7. High-capacity memory built in
The UP300x is equipped with an 8 GB internal memory and the UP300 offers 4 GB of internal memory. The UP300x can hold MPEG-2 data of up to 160 minutes in length or WMV9 data of up to 500 minutes in length (MPEG-2 files recorded at 6.5Mb/s, WMV files recorded at 2Mb/s).
8. Retracting mechanism for adjustment of display position to suit use
Depending upon whether you are viewing images or videos, or simply listening to music, the adjustable display arm can be lowered to eye level or kept in its storage position. Further, the display arm can be lowered below eye level when primarily listening to music with occasional vi ewing of images or videos.
9. Mechanisms for individual fit
The display incorporates two flexible joints and an extendable arm that allow for positioning adjustment suited to individual head shape and size, as well as eye level. This provides for comfortable viewing position and a secure fit for all users. What's more, the arm joint can be reversed for viewing images and videos with either the left or right eye.
10. "Fit Navigator" for usage guidance
This function assists users with correct viewing and listening positioning as well as operation. When the UP is turned on, users need simply to follow the instructions displayed to achieve optimum viewing and listening positioning and learn about button operations.
11. Automatic image brightness adjustment function
When viewing images or videos with just one eye with the UP, visibility with that eye is affected by external brightness visible with the opposite eye. Therefore, the UP has been equipped with a function that automatically adjusts image or video brightness according to ambient brightness.
12. Motion sensor for hands-free operation (UP300x only)
Hands free operation makes the UP a truly all-in-one device. The UP300x is equipped with a motion sensor that supports hands free operational control. With simple head movements up, down, left, or right, a variety of operations, including volume adjustment, can be controlled without using the hands.
13. Operational control concentrated with a multi selector
All operations and basic settings can be applied with one hand using the multi selector, a set of integrated controls on the outside of one speaker. The multi selector is comprised of a centre dial surrounded by four buttons. When a button is pressed, function colour in the display changes for simple control of the intended operation. The user interface is simple enough for anyone to master.
14. High eyepoint and diopter adjustment for comfortable viewing even while wearing glasses
The UP is designed with a high eyepoint for comfortable viewing while wearing glasses. It is also equipped with a diopter adjustment function. This allows for adjustment of optical power to suit individual vision.
In addition, when viewing images or videos with just one eye with the UP, the diopter adjustment function can be used to make the focusing distance of the eye viewing images or videos the same as the other eye, allowing for comfortable simultaneous viewing of the UP display and the surrounding environment.
15. A/V input (UP300x only)
The UP300x can be connected to portable A/V devices with an output terminal, including cellular telephones and audio players. This provides a new way to enjoy existing image, video, and music libraries. (The optional A/V cable is required for connection. Connection may not be possible depending upon the existence of an A/V output terminal, connector shape, and output specifications of the A/V device.)
16. Communication indicator
When operations are modified or volume is adjusted, built-in signs light on the display arm and on the front of the display. These signs can also be disabled.
17. Wiper switch warnings
When viewing images or videos with one eye with the UP and rapidly moving objects are visible with the other eye, attention may concentrate on the surrounding environment. The wiper function shows a white line in the display, which moves to help bring attention back to the display.
18. Hours of listening and viewing enjoyment with two AA batteries
The UP can be powered by two AA alkaline batteries. The UP comes with two Sanyo AA "eneloop" Ni-MH rechargeable batteries and dedicated quick charger. When the supplied batteries are used, uninterrupted video playback of up to 120 minutes1 or music playback of up to 270 minutes2 is possible.
With display brightness manually set to 3 and playback of WMV movie file at 2 Mb/s. Except contents protected by Windows Media DRM 10.
With backlight turned off and playback of WMA 9.2 audio file at 320 Kb/s. Except contents protected by Windows Media DRM 10.
* The optional infrared remote control is convenient for times when reaching for the multi selector may be difficult.
* The size of the image/video displayed can be reduced (50% horizontally and vertically). This prevents missing any details when images or videos are viewed at the periphery of visual field when the display arm is positioned below eye level.
Media Port UP specifications
Type: Multimedia playback headset
Model: UP300, UP300x
Display: 0.44-in. transmissive LCOS with 640 x 480 x 3 dots and 16,770,000 colors
Lens: Adhesion double-layer DOE lens with a diagonal of approximately 24°
Speaker unit: Sealed dynamic type that supports playback frequencies of 3-25,000 Hz
Input terminal: Multi connector
Power source: Two AA alkaline batteries
Three AA Lithium batteries
Two AA rechargeable nickel hydride batteries
Storage medium: Built-in flash memory: 4 GB (UP300)/8 GB (UP300x)1
Movie: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, WMV9 (DRM 10 compatible)
Audio: MP32, WMA9 (DRM 10 compatible), AAC2
Still image: JPEG
Other: SWF (Flash Player 7 compatible)
Interface Hi-Speed USB
Wireless LAN 802.11b/g protocols within a range of 20 m (line of sight)3
Video input(UP300x) Images: NTSC, 1 Vp-p/75Ω Audio: 500 mVrms/47 KΩ
Flash: Version 7
Uninterrupted playback Movie: Approximately 120 minutes4
Audio: approx. 270 minutes5
Operating environment Ambient temperature: 0~40°C
Humidity: 85% or less (no condensation)
Weight 385 g (including supplied batteries)
Supplied accessories UC-UP1 USB cable, 2 Sanyo "eneloop" rechargeable batteries(HR-3UTG), NC-MDR02 battery charger, AL-UP1 angle limiter, Soft Pouch SC-UP1
1 50 MB used by the system.
2 Files protected by copyright cannot be played.
3 Effective range may be reduced by obstacles and inclement weather.
4 With display brightness manually set to 3 and playback of WMV movie file at 2 Mb/s.
Except contents protected by Windows Media DRM 10.
5 With backlight turned off and playback of WMA 9.2 audio file at 320 Kb/s.
Except contents protected by Windows Media DRM 10.
• Except where indicated, all specifications provided apply to use at an ambient temperature of 25°C with the supplied batteries fully charged.