It’s difficult to hold a camcorder while, say, climbing up a sheer face in Yosemite. But there are many camcorders on the market that allow hands-free operation. The LOREXvue Video Sunglasses will capture video while freeing your hands up for other duty. You put them on, turn them on and shoot video, all while doing whatever else you like. Whatever you see, the camera sees and captures.
LOREX recommends the video sunglasses for recording activities such as cycling, boating, hiking, climbing and snowboarding. But my first thought was that they would be ideal for surveillance applications. I wrote recently about Drift Innovation’s X170 helmet-mounted camcorder, but that item virtually shouts, "Hey! I've got a camcorder on my head!" I also wrote about Swann’s DVR-421 PenCam, which is so stealthy most people will never notice it. The LOREXvue Video Sunglasses occupy the middle ground. They look more radical than regular sunglasses, but most people won’t give you a second glance.
The LOREXvue Video Sunglasses have pods on each arm to house the electronics, which consist of a DVR with 2GB of memory, and a microSD card slot that lets you increase the capacity as necessary. A built-in rechargeable battery will power the glasses for up to five hours between charges. A USB port is used to charge the battery and to copy video files to a computer. The glasses come with an AC-to-USB power adapter, USB cable and carry case.
The video sunglasses must be charged before use. LOREX recommends charging them for 12 hours for the first three charges, for best performance, but a full charge usually takes only three or four hours. A red LED lights up while the device is charging, and extinguishes once the battery is fully charged.
Because the glasses weren’t charged when I opened the package, I decided to try just "styling" them on the sidewalk outside the B&H offices, to see if anyone would notice. People in Manhattan rarely look at me unless my hair is on fire. But I did get a couple of double-takes while wearing these glasses, so I must have looked a bit odd. Since lots of people in Manhattan look a bit odd, nobody asked any questions.
Using the LOREXvue Video Sunglasses couldn’t be easier. There are two buttons, one for POWER ON/OFF and another for RECORD/PAUSE. A blue LED flashes while video is being recorded, and power shuts down automatically if you leave the device in STANDBY mode for more than 30 seconds.
To copy files to a computer, you simply turn the glasses on and connect them to a USB port. The computer should recognize the hardware and install the necessary driver. Video files are saved in 3GPP video file format, and by default they open with QuickTime when played on a computer. The format is also compatible with most 3G mobile phones, so if you put your cell phone’s microSD card in the sunglasses and record video to it, you can then play back the video on your cell phone.
Video quality is good in bright environments, but not so good in dark settings. However, you shouldn’t expect anything of large-screen quality, since the resolution is only QVGA, or 320 x 240 pixels. You can have a lot of fun with this camera, but it’s no substitute for a conventional camcorder. The sunglasses feature polarized anti-glare lenses, and they effectively block out the sun. That’s great, because the summer is here, and the beaches are starting to fill up.