Where is the future of optics headed?

tdoublev

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Read an interesting article about Unistellar (a telescope maker) releasing a new pair of binoculars that are on the leading edge of incorporating technology. These binoculars are going to use augmented reality (AR) to support the following capabilities:

The ENVISION binoculars offer four modes of use:
  • Smart Scouting Mode, which creates a 3D map that overlays onto reality to enrich your field of view, indicating landmarks, water sources, trails, refuges, and points of interest during the day. Look up at the night sky after dark and the binoculars will tell you exactly what you’re looking at.
  • Guided Navigation Mode will take you on a tour of the night skies, and during the day similar visual clues will point you towards places of interest improving navigation in unfamiliar terrain.
  • Shareable Target-lock Mode means that whether it’s a camouflage lion during a safari, or a twinkling star in the night sky, you can lock the binoculars on specific targets, enabling you to then pass them to someone else, who will be guided to the same target.
  • Classic Optical Mode means you can still use these as classic binoculars by turning off AR overlay and enjoying a high-quality pair of binoculars.
With Zulu 6s being one of a very few pair of 'hunting' binos that are incorporating tech, what are your guys thoughts on this and the future of technology in optics for hunting purposes? I could see features from augmented reality being extremely useful for pairs/groups of hunters to more quickly share findings in the field, or to highlight areas that you e-scouted for heightened interest. I could see it being very helpful in a guided situation to share information with the client. What other features can Rokslide brainstorm to revolutionize the future of optics?
 

JFK

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I think it should not be allowed for any big game hunting. Period. The idea that we need more than we already have in terms of technology and handholding to make hunting easier, more effective, will only hurt us in the long run. If people want to use them for looking at stars, fine, but I don’t believe any of this has a place in the hunting woods.
 

JGRaider

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I think it should not be allowed for any big game hunting. Period. The idea that we need more than we already have in terms of technology and handholding to make hunting easier, more effective, will only hurt us in the long run. If people want to use them for looking at stars, fine, but I don’t believe any of this has a place in the hunting woods.
What about rangefinders?
 

Macintosh

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To some degree you can use “what about…ism” to avoid addressing any issue like this that could negatively affect hunting opportunity and wildlife management. The fact of the matter is that any technology like this is easier to manage before its a problem. Rf’s are in common use and have been for 15-20 years, at this point you would be taking something away from millions of people that have already invested in them and associated equipment...maybe it needs done, maybe it doesnt, but regardless that genie is out of the bottle already. This technology isnt in common use though, so IF it maybe ought to be managed for a problem it’ll create, NOW is the time to have that conversation.
 
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Swarovski has binos that will identify the bird you are looking at. I wouldn't be surprised if soon they will use AI to analyze shapes and find deer/elk on the landscape.
 
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Swarovski has binos that will identify the bird you are looking at. I wouldn't be surprised if soon they will use AI to analyze shapes and find deer/elk on the landscape.

This is what I came to post. Before too long you're going to set your 15's on a tripod and it will scan left and right and prompt you to inspect in detail certain areas that might be interesting. You'll be sitting there on your phone zooming in and deciding if that's an animal or not.
 

JGRaider

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To some degree you can use “what about…ism” to avoid addressing any issue like this that could negatively affect hunting opportunity and wildlife management. The fact of the matter is that any technology like this is easier to manage before its a problem. Rf’s are in common use and have been for 15-20 years, at this point you would be taking something away from millions of people that have already invested in them and associated equipment...maybe it needs done, maybe it doesnt, but regardless that genie is out of the bottle already. This technology isnt in common use though, so IF it maybe ought to be managed for a problem it’ll create, NOW is the time to have that conversation.
Unless I missed it, the point was that technology can give you an unfair advantage in the field when hunting game animals. Not sure how you can separate image stabilized binos, AI binos, RF's etc from the discussion was my point.
 
OP
tdoublev

tdoublev

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Different animal with established use. Magic binos that use augmented reality, lock onto animals, etc is several steps further down the rabbit hole. Honestly, if that’s what hunting becomes we all deserve what the antis are pushing for.
I would agree that auto detection of animals is for sure too far, but that is not what I took away from the current list of features being incorporated. I think being able to manually ‘tag’ things would be useful and not a step too far.
 

JFK

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I would agree that auto detection of animals is for sure too far, but that is not what I took away from the current list of features being incorporated. I think being able to manually ‘tag’ things would be useful and not a step too far.

Of course it would be useful, but again, I think a line has to be drawn somewhere. Imagine two buddies hunting. One spots a buck bedded across a canyon. He locks onto the animal and hands his buddy his binos, or worse yet, they both have them and he can Bluetooth it to his buddies binos so he can instantly see it. Useful, yes, but it takes all of the skill of being able to use landmarks and describe terrain to walk someone into an animal. A whole required skill set made obsolete with a purchase. It’s these incremental changes that increase efficacy that I think we should be wary of. Just my opinion.
 

nnmarcher

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Swarovski has binos that will identify the bird you are looking at. I wouldn't be surprised if soon they will use AI to analyze shapes and find deer/elk on the landscape.
I remember reading the initial thread on those binos and someone wondered how far away we are from using AI to score the animal we are looking at.
 

Fowl Play

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The future of this stuff is going to get crazy. Honestly allot of the tech is already there. It’s just either too expensive right now or hasn’t been tied together just yet. Sigs line of scope/ rangefinders/ anemometers that connect is just the start. Wait until that is one integrated package. I bet they’ll be able to incorporate machine learning/ AI to do down range wind calls for you in the future as well.

If left unregulated I could see the final form of this being a guy getting a notification from one of his nearby remote spotters that it has found a mule deer above 180”. He waltzes over, lays prone, spotter feeds the location and highlights it in his scope, scopes makes all the adjustments for him. Bang.

We are probably still 10 years out from something like this being put in an economical enough package for hunting. But it’s definitely coming down the pipes. I can see it being very useful and warranted in a military setting, just don’t think it belongs in the hunting woods.
 
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On the higher pricing end there will be new innovation with image stabilization and ranging/ ballistics.
On the lower end and mid ranges of pricing there will be better glass for less money.
Seems from my reading that hunters are moving away from spotters to binos on tripods whenever practical to do so.
The quest for the perfect bino harness that satisfies every hunter will continue, but sadly will never be found.
 

Kurts86

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I would just like to see ranging binoculars with excellent glass and excellent ranging/ballistics with a good form factor. As it stands everything is a compromise in one function with a much higher cost than the some of its parts.
 

gb7

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I would just like to see ranging binoculars with excellent glass and excellent ranging/ballistics with a good form factor. As it stands everything is a compromise in one function with a much higher cost than the some of its parts.
Leica is pretty close. I would like to see the high end manufacturers come out with an image stabilized bino like the Sig Zulu 6. Then eventually combine it all similar to what you said above... an image stabilized bino with ranging/ballistics and elite glass all in a good form factor.
 

JGRaider

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Leica is pretty close. I would like to see the high end manufacturers come out with an image stabilized bino like the Sig Zulu 6. Then eventually combine it all similar to what you said above... an image stabilized bino with ranging/ballistics and elite glass all in a good form factor.
I'd bet very few people would pay the asking price for a contraption like that. I just looked at the Image stabilized Zulu 6 at Cabelas and it's got the be some of the worst optics I've ever seen at any price. The blue hue was horrendous.
 

z987k

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I'd bet very few people would pay the asking price for a contraption like that. I just looked at the Image stabilized Zulu 6 at Cabelas and it's got the be some of the worst optics I've ever seen at any price. The blue hue was horrendous.
That might be, but if you've ever boat hunted, holy crap do they really help. It doesn't matter how clear or perfect other glass is, you can't see anything compared to the zulu 6's.

And to the point of people saying that tech is making finding animals easier, yes, it very much is.
 

wreckem6

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I'd bet very few people would pay the asking price for a contraption like that. I just looked at the Image stabilized Zulu 6 at Cabelas and it's got the be some of the worst optics I've ever seen at any price. The blue hue was horrendous.
I have used them in the field. They are a game changer when it comes to scanning the terrain for wildlife for someone like myself whose hands tremble a little. I know they can give some motion sickness, but they are worth every dime to me.
 
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