The best part of CES is seeing some new wacky invention - the kind that makes one initially go "Huh? Who would want that?" That describes the recently unveiled HX-A100 by Panasonic in a nutshell.
The first question is simply "Why?" And Panasonic's representative was able to answer in a rather succinct manner. Their new device is the firm's first entry in the wearable action cam marketplace, one that is primarily dominated by Go Pro, but you're seeing various other parties starting to take the plunge as well.
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There are numerous parties who use action cams: The popular car show "Top Gear" on the BBC, for example; as well as kids making their own skateboarding videos for their friends (or the rest of the world, via YouTube).
Panasonic, not content with just copying the competition, had to find a way to make it appeal to an even broader market. So their solution was to create a camera that offered a true, first person perspective.
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Being able to see through the eyes of athletes certainly sounds exciting, but how about a surgeon?
Knowing what surgery truly looks like is one kind of practical application for the HX-A100, at least among medical students. Its potential when giving presentations was also noted, and while doctors and PR people hardly qualifies a broader audience, it's still something.
Another goal was to do away with a number of the negatives associated with pre-existing devices.
The HX-A100 rests comfortably over one's ear; it's part of a head mount that is virtually undetectable and light - it's only 30 grams. And, since it largely resembles a pair of headphones (though it can be detached and placed on a helmet if one chooses).
What's more, there's an accompanying unit that is worn via arm strap, making control a breeze. This secondary component is also light, at just 115 grams.
And an accompanying iOS and Android app, helps users easily live stream the video or live to the internet using USTREAM.
As for the quality of the image, the HX-A100 can capture full 1080 HD footage. The camera is also dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof. It can be submerged in waters as deep as 5 feet.
No price or release date was given. While the Panasonic rep came short of flat-out stating that the HX-A100 is an experiment, he did note that it's a bold new device for Panasonic. One that, when it finally arrives, will be available in both black and orange.