Virtual Reality

On-the-Water Augmented Reality

The Garmin Nautix (Courtesy of Garmin)

The new Garmin Nautix handset is a brilliant piece of technology that supports watch-keeping on board a vessel.  This useful in-view display is a near-eye augmented-reality device,  similar to avionics head-mounted display used by fighter pilots.


Skippers and fishermen can see in their glasses online critical boat data and stay focused when they navigate. A similar Garmin system, known as Varia Vision, is applied for cyclists. “The world of cycling was our first target, with safety a key design objective,” explained Ann Claeys, key account manager at Garmin Benelux, to NauticExpo e-Magazine. “The digital data being read on your sunglasses, you do not have to lose sight, quite the contrary of reading from a traditional GPS.”

Courtesy of Garmin

Garmin nautix (Courtesy of Garmin)

The Nautix is waterproof design and NMEA 2000 data compatible. It displays data like speed, heading, depth, temperature, wind direction and engine RPM. For navigational purposes, it can provide distance and bearing to a waypoint.

Wireless Technology

The Nautix is suitable for polarized or prescription lenses and an ambient light sensor automatically adjusts brightness. Its swipe touch panel makes it possible to scroll through on-screen instructions or customizable data screens. Wet conditions are no problem, as it can be used while wearing gloves.

“ It’s an ultra-lightweight device that can be easily mounted on either side of most of sunglasses and eyeglass frames,” according to Claeys. “With a Nautix, it’s possible to keep track of what is happening on and around a boat. Sailors can even view hands-free advanced race data, including the countdown, burn time and starting line data.”

The Nautix wireless technology is based on the ANT+ technology designed by Dynastream Innovations, a Garmin subsidiary. ANT+ is an open-access data technology also used on smartphones, bike computers and heart rate monitors.

Pairing a Connection

Pairing a connection should be easy: Bring the Nautix within range of a compatible device and it automatically looks for the device. The device is a powered by a lithium ion battery that you can charge with a standard USB port.  It works only with Garmin products like GNX Wind instruments, GPSMAP 7400 series chartplotters and GPSMAP 8400 multifunction displays.

About the Author

Wim Vercauter is a freelance boating editor and a fire safety expert.

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