Even the most clueless twitcher knows what a sparrow or a starling looks like, but in the unlikely event that a fluffy-backed tit-babbler, spangled drongo, or perplexing scrubwren turns up in your garden one day, you might need a pair of Swarovski Optik AX Visio to help with identification.
Press a button on these brainy binos and they’ll use AI to scan through a 9000-strong catalogue of birds and other wildlife to confirm exactly what that is that’s having breakfast on your bird table. It’ll take a few seconds, so you’ll need to stay still and quiet to make sure they have time to get a match.
They also have a neat ‘Share Discoveries’ feature, which adds arrows to the viewfinder to make it easier for other people with you to locate whatever you’ve spotted, so you don’t have to try and explain using vague directions and landmarks when you pass the binoculars over.
If you spot anything really rare they have a built-in 13MP camera sensor, so if anyone doubts that you really had a flamingo hanging out in your pond you can prove it by transferring photos or 1080p videos to the Swarovski Optik Outdoor app on your phone. GPS is also onboard, so they’ll use your location to work out whether it’s more likely you’ve actually just spotted a little bustard.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, it is the same Swarovski that is known for slathering everything from dog bowls to vacuum cleaners in crystals. There aren’t any here, the Optik AX Visio only come in this inconspicuous green colour to help you blend in with the undergrowth, but you wouldn’t know that from the price – a pair will set you back $4799/£3820/€4600.