By Ron Aiken and Electric Consumer
Though 1608 is the recorded year for the first telescope, which led to monoculars and binoculars, humans have tried to improve their ability to see long distances long before then. Roman Emperor Nero, it’s said, viewed the fights of gladiators through a natural magnifier made out of an emerald. Ancient civilizations knew the magnifying properties of natural lenses, mirrors and water.
Thanks to modern technology, we have gadgets to take our vision to a whole new level.
It’s one thing to see that bear in the distance at Yellowstone; it’s another thing entirely to record it clearly. Why not do both with these Bushnell 8×30 ImageView Digital Camera Binoculars? You can capture still images or immediately record the HD video you see on a 1.5-inch display. $144.
(800) 606-6969; bhpvideo.com
FUN IN THE SUN
Sure, your sunglasses shield your eyes from the sun. But what else can they do? The 720p Interceptor Plus sunglasses from AVIwear include a high-definition video camera-recorder, built into the bridge of the frame, an onboard MP3 audio player and a USB port. $200.
Ski goggles are those unwieldy barriers to vision that make a difficult sport even more challenging. OK, maybe that’s just us. But if you can handle eyewear that does more than just cover your eyes, look at Oakley’s Airwave goggles featuring a built-in “mobile dashboard” that tracks altitude, speed, navigation and more, all while letting you play music and take phone calls. Because that definitely makes skiing easier. $649.
For kids who love nighttime adventures, the Spy Net Eye Clops Ultra Vision Goggles add a fun way to see up to 50 feet in complete darkness, as well as record video. Games of capture the flag, fox and hounds, and hide and seek will never be the same, and “Olly olly, oxen free!” might never need shouting again. $100. (Original photo by sonyae/istock/getty images plus)
Need to see in the dark? Advanced digital technology in the Armasight Prime DC 7x Digital Color Night Vision Monocular brings the nighttime world to life. View in color or black and white, and use the built-in video output to connect to other devices. $253.
In hunting, the ability to spot your target accurately in varying light is key. The ATN Binox-HD Digital Nightvision Binoculars give you clear views in both daytime and pre-dawn dark, providing the edge hunters need. $479.
Telescopes altered mankind’s view of the universe, but we’ve come a long way from those early curved glass lenses in tubes. The computerized Celestron NexStar 130 SLT is a lightweight and portable telescope that automatically tracks thousands of celestial objects, so wannabe astronomers can find exactly what they’re looking for in the night sky. $400.
Ron Aiken is a freelance writer from Columbia, South Carolina. His monthly column also appears in South Carolina Living, the statewide electric co-op magazine of the Palmetto State. Product inclusion on this page does not imply endorsement; product availability and prices are subject to change.