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PC World

Olympus's wide-screen headset

November 18, 1999
Web posted at: 10:02 a.m. EST (1502 GMT)

by Cameron Crouch eyetrek

LAS VEGAS (IDG) -- For frequent flyers who are repeatedly subjected to the same in-flight movie, or for anyone who just wants to be left alone, the Eye-Trek puts your choice of movie right in front of your eyes.

Announced at Comdex here this week, Olympus's Eye-Trek is a visor with LCD screens and headphones that hooks up to a VCR, camcorder, DVD player, or television. The lenses create a viewing angle of 37.5 degrees horizontal and 21.7 degrees vertical, equivalent to a 62-inch wide-screen TV when viewed at a distance of 6 1/2 feet. The $899 Eye-Trek comes with a controller for setting the display, image, and sound. You can find it at Sharper Image priced at $899.

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Would you want an Eye-Trek?

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Olympus also unveiled its new Camedia digital camera, the C-2020 Zoom, and a Universal Serial Bus Smart Media Reader. The C-2020 Zoom is scheduled to ship December 1 at $900, and the USB Smart Media Reader costs $79.

The C-2020 Zoom Camedia offers 2.11 megapixel resolution, 3x optical zoom, and an LCD display. The unit builds off the C-2000 Zoom with its preferred aperture and shutter automatic controls, and adds a full manual setting.

Private viewing

The Eye-Trek visor has been available in Japan since June 1998, but is making its U.S. debut. The apparatus offers a bright image at 240,000-pixel resolution. It is portable and reasonably lightweight -- Olympus claims it weighs 3.8 ounces, although it feels heavier. But you also need an NTSC (TV signal) output device such as a portable DVD player or camcorder.

Still, early adopters will be impressed with the Eye-Trek's surround sound, bass boost, and four display settings: standard, wide, zoom, and cinema. You can even wear it over your eyeglasses.

The Eye-Trek design lets you maintain your peripheral vision while not disturbing anyone around you, says Peter Reyman, a product manager at Olympus. Of course, he wasn't accounting for the people bumping elbows to try one out at Olympus' trade show booth.

All of Olympus's digital cameras have spherical glass lenses and internal serial faces.

The new USB Smart Media Reader provides twice the transfer time on Window PCs over the serial connection, says Chris Midyet of the Digital and Systems Imaging group at Olympus. The USB reader offers advantages other than speed, he notes.

"The real convenience is that the serial port is often tied up by other peripherals," he says.

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Comdex 99
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