Amesbury, Mass. - A new fashion-oriented CE company called Nabes, based here, has been issued a U.S. design patent for a video eyewear system that transforms sunglasses into a stealth video headset for use with smartphones to present an image with the perceptible equivalent size of a 75-inch screen viewed 9 feet away.
The Nabes micro-viewer, which was announced Wednesday, is expected to sell for a suggested retail of less than $500, when it reaches market later this year. It is designed to connect to iPhones and other smartphones, the company said.
Nabes said it has developed critical manufacturing processes for viewer optics and electronics that integrate with high-fashion sunglasses, has developed working prototypes and plans full-scale production this year.
The first Nabes' micro-viewer will measure approximately 0.75 inches by 0.6 inches by 3.3inches, will weigh approximately 2 ounces, and will deliver WVGA resolution from iOS, composite video, HDMI and USB interfaces.
The system includes a rechargeable control box with four hours of run time, stereo in-ear earphones, and included "high-quality fashionable sunglasses with full UV protection," that accept patented, folded optics measuring 0.6 inch thin that hide behind the frame.
Users appear to be wearing normal sunglasses when using the device.
Nabes said the compact size allows for good peripheral vision so users are always aware of their surroundings.
Bob Spaller, the micro-viewer inventor and Nabes president/chief technology officer, said "Nabes' breakthrough design fundamentally changes video eyewear from a `Gawkward' niche product into a chic essential entertainment companion for the massive iPhone and smartphone market."
Long-time CE industry veteran Paul Fredrickson (formerly with RCA, Philips, Loewe/Sensory Science and NuVision) is Nabes' chief marketing officer.
"We are currently in the process of setting up our rep and distributor network," Fredrickson told TWICE, referring "interested retailers, reps and distributors, both domestically and internationally for CE channels, service provider channels and eyewear channels to CEO/CSO Kevin Sullivan at email@example.com.
Fredrickson said Nabes also plans to sell its product direct to consumers through its web site at www.nabesllc.com and is taking pre-orders via Kickstarter.
In addition to brick-&-mortar and ecommerce dealers, Nabes will be reaching out to such retailers as Apple that are strong in selling portable media players such as iPods, he said.
"We feel that Nabes is a natural fit for smart phone manufacturers/service providers interested in selling or bundling a complimentary product that has a high potential of driving increased demand for entertainment download and streaming subscriptions and services," Fredrickson said.