Nikon Corp combined headphones and small displays to develop the "UP300x" and "UP300," single-eye head mounted displays (HMD) with a media player function.

"They are our new concept products, and they will help us move forward to the next stage as a company that provides digital images," said Kazuyuki Kazami, executive officer and general manager of Development Headquarters at Nikon's Imaging Company.

Being able to play music and video, link up with a PC and get connected to the Internet, those battery-driven devices are "all-in-one audio-visual gadgets," Kazami said.

The single-eye head mounted display frees both hands and "can be safely used even in urban areas, unlike immersive displays," Kazami said. Images are shown in the size equivalent to a 51-inch display placed 3m in front. And they are superimposed on the user's actual view.

The OS used for the "UP300x" and "UP300" is Windows CE 5.0 Pro. Users can copy content stored on a PC via USB and browse it using the media player. It is also possible to connect the HMDs to the "Uplink" content distribution service run by Nikon via a wireless LAN and download content files.

They can be used as Internet terminals as well because they are mounted with a Web browser equivalent to Internet Explorer 6.0.

When I actually used the player, images looked floating in the real landscape. The "multi selector" on the external side of the headphone is used for operation. A directional keypad and a wheel selector are equipped in the multi selector.

The directional keypad has a switch that responds to light touches, and a corresponding icon lights up on the screen when the switch is activated. Thanks to this switch, users can recognize which key is being touched on the display.

The prices of the upper model UP300x and the UP300 are ¥69,800 and ¥59,800, respectively. Advance orders will begin to be accepted Oct 15, 2008, and shipments will start in mid December. Sales will initially be limited to Nikon's "UPSTORE" online store.

UP300 (Japanese)