|This page will discuss my experiences with the EyeTop video glasses.|
|"You get what you pay for"|
|Usually this phrase is synonymous with "I just bought some junk", but in this case I use the term literally. If you consider that a set of regular 'video glasses' can be had for around $600, then the $300 I spend on the Eyetop glasses got me everything I paid for. Read on to learn what I mean.|
|The first thing that pleasantly surprised me was how small the box was that the Eyetop glasses arrived in. I had previously purchased some Sony and Canon video glasses and the boxes were much larger, so that is what I expected here. The box is smaller for a couple of reasons. First, the glasses themselves are much more compact than the others, and second, there is no transformer included for the glasses (nor any provision to plug them in)|
|The second pleasant surprise I got was that the Eyetop runs on readily available 'AA' batteries. This quickly mullified my concern over the lack of an AC power option, since I have more rechargable 'AA' cells than I know what to do with! Also, the glasses are not intended for stationary use so an AC supply would be superfluous.|
|Here you can see the business part of the glasses. Glancing to the right provides your right eye with a surprisingly sharp and bright image. After hearing of peoples concern that the resolution of these glasses was low I was not expecting much, but the resolution is very good. The viewed image is nowhere near the "virtual 60 inch" screen claimed by other glasses, but it very closely approximates what you would see through the viewfinder of a camcorder that had a very good color viewfinder.|
|Here is the whole setup. You can see the imaging module hanging off the right lense on the sunglasses. Video is piped into the control module via the build in RCA jack (a very nice departure over regular video glasses).|
|The videoglasses come apart, ostensibly to replace the sunglass lenses, however Eyetop only offers the one tint, so I can't imagine why you would have to replace them, short of stepping on them. To their credit Eyetop.net offers many of the parts that one might lose or break like the nosepiece, battery hatch, and belt clip. They also offer those sporty eyeglass retainer straps, a must in my opinion if you are trying to run from an angry farmer who doesn't understand that his field makes a great flying site.|
|I do have a couple of minor complaints. First is that the sunglass lenses are a bit wavy. Nothing terrible, but a lot like you might see in a cheap pair of sunglasses. Second is the flicker in the image. It is barely noticable, but it is there. It is minor enough that I feel they would still be useful for the purpose I have in mind; as a live preview device that will allow me to maintain visual contact with my airplane at the same time I can see what the plane is seeing.|
- cheaper alternative to the expensive video glasses
- Single eye viewing allows you to control your plane while sneaking peaks at the video being transmitted down.
- Compact and lightweight
- Built in video RCA jack.
- Very sharp image with excellent resolution
- Sunglasses are a bit wavy
- mild flicker in the image
|September 4, 2003: First live test of Eyetop video glasses|
|I just got back from my lunch time flying session with the Eyetop glasses.
I mounted my BWAV 200mw video system to my GWS SlowStick with the camera
on a tilting servo.
The video receiver was zip-tied to my homemade transmitter tray and powered from an 8 cell nicad pack stuck in my pants pocket. The Eyetop control unit clipped to my belt.
The eyetops performed admirally well. With my Indiana Jones hat planted firmly on my head (full brim) , the view from the glasses was bright and sharp. The waviness in the sunglasses quickly became easy to ignore (I buy a lot of cheap sunglasses) and my brain quickly learned to ignore the slight flicker in the video image.
Final analysis: I am happy with the glasses. I was thrilled at the compositional control they gave me from the plane, while still maintaining visual contact with craft. Transitioning from video view to plane view was a non-event, since my head was still craned up in the direction of the plane. I only became confused once, when the plane was coming toward me... when viewed from the video, the controls were still right, but when looking at the plane I needed to reverse them. I did a slow left turn while my brain unlocked and successfully regained control of the plane.
Next outing I'll set up a separate receiver with the camcorder to capture
some video. No more guessing at what I'm getting on tape!
|October, 2003: Eyetop's prove their use|
|As noted above, the game plan was to set up a dedicated receiver for
recording to my camcorder, and a second receiver carried in my pocket attached
to the video glasses. For this outing, I did a fun installation on
my Soarstar, with Homer Simpson as my pilot. As you watch the video,
notice the framing of the lake. The eyetops allowed me to frame the
image so that I knew I would have some good raw footage to edit together
for the final video.