Its 2011 now, and to be frank it’s a pretty disappointing future. We don’t have flying cars or hover boards, we can’t live on the moon or be intergalactic bounty hunters, and the only people dressed like characters from Tron are YouTube celebrities. However, we do have twin tipped skis, and we are about to get our hands on something even more futuristic. There has been talk from various companies over the last couple of years now about goggles with built in GPS, speedometers, altitude meters, etc. Recently a company by the name of Recon teamed up with Zeal Optics to release the “Transcend” goggles, the world’s first GPS-equipped snow goggles. They offer real-time feedback to the user via a micro LCD display including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. And if you have $500 lying around right now you can fire up the internet, buy yourself a pair, and be feeling like James Bond in 2-4 days.
$500 is a lot of scratch however, and you might not be feeling entirely convinced. Well hold on tight, because Recon has just upped the ante by announcing a new pair of goggles that will actually run Android. The very same software you may have on your smartphone, quite literally right before your eyes. Here are a couple of the new features enabled by the software change:
Integrated Maps and Buddy Tracking
Recon Instruments will offer the first pair of goggles with a real-time navigational system. The user will be able to locate friends and family on the hill and also navigate their way through unfamiliar resorts across the globe with easy to use, direct-to-eye trail maps with the help of the world’s largest backcountry and resort map bank from partners such as Mountain Dynamics.
Bluetooth Smartphone and Video Integration
The next generation technology will also incorporate Bluetooth capabilities allowing the goggles to connect to the user’s smartphone, the first of its kind. Music playlists, caller ID and text messages will be viewable hands-free, direct-to-eye on the hill. The Bluetooth feature will also connect with wireless video cameras so the user can utilize the micro LCD display within the goggles as a viewfinder for the camera, another first.
Dan Eisenhardt, CEO of Recon Instruments said, “We are proud to follow the successful launch of our first innovation, Transcend, with our next generation technology platform for the Recon-Ready program. The market was crying out for navigational maps, buddy-tracking, smartphone capabilities, and wireless video camera capabilities for hands-free, safe, and fun use in alpine environments. Our answer is to revolutionize the way we use goggles and head-mounted displays, and we are delighted to bring all these features, and more, to fruition.”
On top of that, Recon plans to create an open software development kit for the goggles which will allow developers to create Android apps specifically for use with the goggles. This is the real kicker, because if the idea takes off there will likely be massive amounts of apps to choose from, just like on your smartphone. The possibilities really are endless. Furthermore the software is compatible with frames from different partnered companies, such as Uvex, Alpina and Briko. This suggests that in the future, we could possibly see the software becoming compatible with even more company’s frames. Prices and release dates are TBA.
It’s looking like we finally got all those scientists working on something useful, and the future is looking bright indeed.