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Two new Nikon products

Nikon announced two new products today - the Media Port UP300 and UP300x video headset. This is a rather awkward direction for Nikon and I am not sure of the intended target audience, but those gadgets look pretty impressive. It is interesting to see the word "video" in another Nikon product, not to mention the "x" in the model number. More images of the announcement can be seen here.

The world's first* multimedia playback headset with built-in Wi-Fi capability, support for movie playback, and high-capacity built-in memory 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.

Major Functions

  • 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.

Development background

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 recognizes 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.

Primary Features

  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 viewing 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 center dial surrounded by four buttons. When a button is pressed, function color 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.

    1
    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.
    2
    With backlight turned off and playback of WMA 9.2 audio file at 320 Kb/s. Except contents protected by Windows Media DRM 10.

Additional features

  • 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
File formats
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
Web browser HTML: HTML 4.01, frames supported, JavaScript
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

Via Gizmodo

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  • Larry

    Mmm… 640×480 display + wifi… what about a future EVIL camera which wirelessly transmits the viewfinder image to this device? Sweet!

  • Mike

    Sounds good I suppose, but who wants to watch a 50″ screen with one eye?

  • Blog Admin

    this is funny – I had similar thoughts but I labeled them as “radical” and did not post them…

  • RumpelHund

    I can only guess what drove Nikon to develop such a thing. Like the recent tilt&shift lenses there has to be a masterplan behind all those exotic things nobody asked for.

    Maybe there will be this BIG thing: Huge silicon area pumped into VGA HUD. Maybe there will be 50x60mm sensor with VGA resolution, meaning 94mikron pixelpitch! (D3 has about 8!).

    This will give _really_ high ISO possibilities of 122times the D3’s (7 f-stops) ahead of D3.

    Now this is cool: Such a camera can can even shoot black matter handheld at f8!

  • Brian

    Oh good. Now people can surf the internet more easily while driving.

  • stj

    Ha ha ha! Excatly my thoughts. I wish they would use the money to bring out more FX lenses instead of these gadgets. Otherwise I hope they will sell lots so that they have more money to develop the lenses ;-)

  • Lyr

    SOmething interesting in this report:


    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).

    I don’t remember Nikon doing this in traditional DSLR Lenses, like Canon did in the two “DO” lenses.
    Does that mean they’re now ready to create lenses with diffractive optics, to bring us smaller/lighter and with less chromatic aberation ?
    (even if they are correcting CA by software, and in the near future, distortion will be corrected in camera too)

  • Alex

    Ha ha! First it was the bluetooth headsets causing everyone to have blatant loud personal conversations over the phone in a manner that made them appear to be talking to themselves irrationally…now we’ll have a bunch of people walking around looking like Cyclops from X-men shouting sporadically as their stocks drop or scream in horror as the latest Saw movie rips across the screen. C’mon Nikon. At least the PC lenses were still lenses.

  • Alex

    Who am I kidding. I think the PC lenses are sweet!

  • Rob

    Does this come with a Borg designation?

  • Anonymous

    Nikon getting ready for digital viewfinders… duh

  • Pablov

    Nice to see this thing..

    with my partner, we sketched some like this 18 years ago, but there was no easy way to implement dislplays so close to the eye without a “big” device in front of it (or above/below).
    (we thought it for space/aircraft crew though)

    You can be sure, japanese people love this things..

    And you can also bet bet Nikon is not silly and see the future (and the present they are almost missing) that is in the “video” displays/devices market…

    What I’m really surprised is that this year was the “first DSLR with Movie feature”. I could have bet it was going to happen some time ago..
    Besides the tech-issues to implement it, I couldn’t understand that long they take to do it…
    Probably the matter of necessary investment in developing (especially sensors able of)

    Japan is the land of image/video/multimedia displays&devices… Everyone knows that.

    One more thing I’m wondering why is so much “silence” about are the computer multi-touch screens…

  • Juergen

    “(“UP” read as individual letters)”

    Ok, here we go:

    U – “you”
    P – “pee”

    There should DEFINITELY be a Sake ban at Nikon headquarters…

  • Juergen

    Great you decided to cover this!

    Many other sites do not understand the importance of this devices: It’s nothing less than a preview of the next (or over-next) technical generation in digital cameras. Period.

    The devices themselves may look like mainly useless toys for gadget-freaks, but they aren’t, they simply are the accumulation of several technical things we will see in future cameras.

    For example: Take the little screen, the eye display, it is like “viewing of a 50-inch large screen from a distance of three meters.” (For our American fiends, three metres is very close to 10 feet).
    So on a DSLR put a manual focus lens on the cam – focusing should now be easy.
    Another thing is you can simultaneously watch the real scene and what the camera’s sensor records (live view mode) resp. what is the final result after tweaking the picture (white balance etc. pp.). And you can superimpose any information you like.
    Also you can point the camera at the scene without looking through any viewfinder or at the camera’s LCD. Great for surveillance and secret photographing.
    Also more than one person at at time can watch what the camera sees.
    And also imagine a small camera which has no more LCD as you can watch the pic on the eye display, a VERY small camera…
    Of course the eye display gives even more possibilities, I am sure in later iterations it will be integral part of glasses and sunglasses.
    So such an eye display doesn’t mean less than to decouple screens from devices, screen-less-devices serving as remote content providers (one of these being digital cameras) for the eye display.
    And so on and so on – the possibilities with the eye display alone are endless!

    The future of digital cameras – here we have seen a glimpse!

    Nostrada… aeh: Juergen ;-))

  • Juergen

    Oh, and one other thing is the “built-in motion sensor that allows for hands free operation, including volume adjustment, by moving the head up or down, left or right.”
    Ok, now witha a cam define in a custom menu what it shall do, e.g. head up = positive exposure compensation, head-down = negative exposure compensation, head left = focus nearer, head right = focus farther.
    Add an eye-sensor, switch functions by blinking with he eye, e.g change head up to playback next image and head down to playback last image.
    The possibilities are virtually (yes, yes, lame wordplay…) endless!

  • Blog Admin

    I know that Nikon has something in mind with this product. It is hard for me to believe that they just decided to work on “gadgets”. They will be a follow-up on this product in the future, trust me.

  • Marc

    When they release a model with “friken lasers” I’ll get one.

  • Pablov

    yes, the eye-display is the most interesting part of this “gadget”, indeed.

    Will work now in some ideas already had using it (that wasn’t available sometime ago)

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