Carl Zeiss takes on Vuzix with new video eyewear

Carl Zeiss has announced a new version of its Cinemizer video eyewear at Macworld 2009 in San Francisco on Tuesday.

The company, which is more famous for its lenses on Sony digital cameras and Nokia mobile phones, believes that outside of the lens business consumers want goggles that enable them to enjoy video at home or on the go.

"We see people wanting to use the goggles at home, for the kids in the back of the car or on a plane", Andreas Klavehn, senior sales and marketing manager for multimedia devices at Carl Zeiss.

That viewpoint is very different from competing eyewear maker Vuzix whose design and approach is heading more towards a heads up display approach. It has just announced a more sunglasses styled product at CES in Las Vegas.

The Zeiss Cinemizer plus has according to Klavehn been updated and improved over the original Zeiss Cinemizer video eyewear released last year in Germany.

The Cinemizer combines high-resolution LCD screens with individual diopter focus adjustment (-3.5 to +3.5D) allowing for users who wear glasses to still focus on the screen. The eyewear also adds on-ear headphones and the ability to override them with your own headphones.

Klavehn believes the true success will rest in 3D video "once content becomes widely available".

Carl Zeiss says it is actively lobbying Hollywood studios to offer consumer versions of the 3D movies they are creating. Of 5545 (indoor) cinemas in the US, there are 1068 3D capable screens, which are showing a rapidly growing number of 3D movies. But currently there are very few options to bring the 3D experience into the consumer realm.

The Cinemizer plus will be available in the USA, UK and Germany from March 2009 with an expected price of a rather expensive £300.


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