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  • I’ve Got You in My Sights — Now Say ‘Cheese’!

Photonics Spectra
Jun 2008
Lynn M. Savage

Sunglasses — check. MP3 player — check. Digital camera — check.

Now, where are you going to carry them all? You can shove them into your purse, backpack or chic Euro-style messenger bag, but will you be able to find the camera when the opportunity for a great picture presents itself? Not without a lot of fumbling...

Instead, why not try out one of the latest gadgets to incorporate imaging technology in a creatively commercial way: Spy Camera Sunglasses!


Photo courtesy of

Made by Xonix Watch Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong and sold in the US by the spectacles have a 1024 × 1280-pixel digital camera built in. The shutter button is on the frame, but if you want to take snapshots unnoticed, you can use the easily pocketable radio-frequency remote control that is included. Sorry, no flash.

The sunglasses, which feature flip-style shades, store up to 1 GB of data for saving not only photos but music files as well. The frames have attached earbuds for listening to your tunes while you snap away, and a USB 2.0 interface enables data transfers and recharges the built-in lithium-ion battery.

Light-based toys and tchotchkes are not new; do you remember staring at a lava lamp for hours or firing up the Kenner Give-a-Show Projector or Hasbro’s Lite-Brite? Over the years, though, lasers, LEDs, imaging chips, holograms and similar photonic technologies have become increasingly familiar to children (and adults who refuse to grow up) as the basis of toys, games and other fun distractions like the spy camera sunglasses.

On the other hand, maybe we’ll see the glasses show up as the most fashionable accessory among the next generation of paparazzi to stalk Hollywood celebs.

digital camera
A camera that converts a collected image into pixels that are black or white digital or shades of gray. The digital data may then be manipulated to enhance or otherwise modify the resulting viewed image.
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