Recon teams with Oakley for Airwave Ski Goggles with ‘Heads-Up’ Data Display

Looking for a ski accessory that can set you apart from your friends? Then you might want to look at the Airwave ski goggles from Oakley that have just hit the market and the glasses company has teamed with Recon to significantly enhance the goggles.

Oakley joins a number of Recon partners in creating goggles that provide an interactive skiing experience, but the company looks to be taking it one step further, by providing an app that will enable an Apple iOS device to be part of the equation, and will be available in select Apple Stores. There has been an Android app available for some time.

Airwaves have a $599 list, so that they will not be an impulse buy, at least for most. The goggles come loaded with the sensor and communications technology that has been the hallmark of Recon.

You are probably familiar with Oakley but maybe less so with Recon, which would be too bad. The company makes what it calls heads-up display technology, but that is a rather dry term for an interesting product family.

The company makes a technology that gives you real time stats and data, using your goggles to provide a backdrop for the information that can include your speed, distance traveled, vertical descent and a number of navigational data points from its built-in GPS. It is designed in such a way that when you are looking out skiing it does not interfere with your vision but by looking in a predetermined area it provides a host of data from the sensors that are part of the unit.

You can purchase a unit that is able to snap into a number of different vendor’s goggles so that you are not limited to a single developer or style. They have the ability to connect to a smartphone and allow a skier to connect to incoming calls, view text messages or listen to music that is stored on the device. There is a remote that can be attached to gloves or the goggles themselves to control access.

Recon Instruments Seeks to Enlarge Heads-Up Display App Space with SDK

Recon Instruments has taken an important step in expanding the demand for its Heads up Display technology by opening it up for developers with the release of a software developers kit (SDK) for Android that will open up the platform to third party developers.

Possibly lost amid all of the splash that Google provided at the opening of its Google I/O show yesterday Recon used the event, packed with Android developers, to reveal the details of its HUD SKU to the market.

While its main focus has been on developing for ski goggles, the HUD devices have been used for a range of other uses including by a skateboarder who recently set a speed record, and recorded the event using Recon’s technology.

I suspect that as additional apps are developed Recon will start to see its products used in a growing number of fields which will be increasingly important as competitors are starting to crowd the field. Google showed a live working demonstration of its Google Glass project at the show yesterday and they were used in ski diving and rappelling down a building.

A number of other developers including Oakley and Vuzic are also working on at least somewhat similar projects, so the larger the app ecosystem for Recon’s platform the more likely it will have long term success.

The SDK will enable the development of apps for the current version of MOD Live, the current HUD from Recon, as well as the next generation that is currently under development. The basic components that developers will have to work with include a GPS unit, Bluetooth connectivity and a host of sensors including on board altimeter, barometer, 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyro, 3-axis magnetometer, and temperature sensor.

New World Record for Skateboard Speed: Recon Instruments was there!

Have you ever wondered what the world record for speed on a skateboard is? Well wonder no more as a new one was just set this week in Mount Eboulements, QC where Mischo Erban broke the existing Guinness World Record.

Apparently there is no penalty for a technology assist as Erban was aided by wearing a custom built Heads Up Display from Recon Instruments that helped provide information about the route that he took to break the record.

One nice thing about the record is that if you are interested a camera was included in his gear so that there is some very nice video of the event which can be found here.

Erban hit a top speed of 80.74 mph from a standing start on a downhill run. The HUD device provided him with real time readings of his speed, distance, time, navigation among other data streams during his record breaking run.

The previous record had surprisingly stood for quite some time. It was established by Douglas da Silva on October 20, 2007. He managed to reach 70.21 mph on a run at Teutonia, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Hopefully Guinness and Recon will start teaming up for a range of records, simply because getting the data feed from the skater, or whatever sports, would be very interesting and I suspect will lead to a greater demand for both HUD type devices but also in breaking additional records. With the X Games on its way it seems like a nature time to try this.

Vergence Labs latest with Connected Glasses

It seems that after Google made a short blog post about its Project Glass it has lit a match under the market and both new startups and established players are rushing to let you know about how well their individual efforts are going in this space as well.

The latest to appear on the radar is a company called Vergence Labs, and it is taking an increasingly familiar route to funding by appealing to individuals at a crowd funding site, and this one is using Kickstarter.

The funding here is seeking to raise $50,000 and the drop dead date is June 7th, so as of this writing it has 15 days to go. It also has already raised almost half of what is seeking as it now has $22,008 pledged.

I like the pitch which in part claims “become part of the future human-computer revolution!” I thought that I did that when I bought my first PC, an Apple II with not one but two floppy drives. The computer enabled eye wear will have the ability to record HD images and video from a first person point of view at the touch of a button. In addition they are being touted as the world’s first electric sunglasses with chromatic shifting conductive glass by which it means they darken when in sunlight.

The company sees the glasses as a social media tool and is establishing a web sharing site called YouGen.TV from which users can share experiences and export to Twitter, Google + and Facebook. I can see sports fans doing this and I wonder how the leagues will take to it.

MLB has been particularly tough about posting images from its games onto YouTube and I cannot believe that it is going to relent simply because computer powered glasses have made it easier to record the event.

Vergence also has pretty ambitious plans in the future hopes to make glasses that can perform a variety of tasks including sending information directly to a users eyes, and possibly develop interfaces for robotic devices that can be controlled with a gesture.

As with many of the Kickstarter offerings I love the creativity that developers are bringing to the market. Of course it is cracking the market that is the challenge. It is much harder, in my opinion, for hardware developers to do so that software. It is a snap to download a dozen apps in a few minutes, but most people I know, myself included, are concerned with how they look in glasses, just to take the lowest possible issue.

Then there is the competition. Google was very vague about its Google’s Project Glass remarks so it is hard to judge what it plans to do, and others have come out with, or at least talked about, connected glasses and goggles including Recon Instruments and Oakley. Still it looks like there is some momentum in this space and someone is going to break through and establish ‘glasses’ as a new computing device category.

Neva-The Talking Ski Poles may be coming to Your Slopes

There is another interesting item over at Kickstarter that is seeking funding and I think one of the things that the project highlights is how increasingly easy it is becoming to network everything, even items that you might not have considered such as ski poles.

A company out of Salt Lake City called SlopeScience is touting Neva, which it calls the evolution of the ski pole by adding wireless communications capabilities to so that it can talk with your smartphone and relate information to you while you are skiing, and just as important, so you do not have to remove your gloves.
Seeking to raise $100,000 it has so far gathered 80 backers and raised $12,218 towards its goal. In case you have forgotten if you do not reach your goal you get nothing and the funding round ends June 6.

The poles will feature the ability to display when a call is coming in and a simply swipe can ignore or answer the call, Text messages can also be displayed. It leverages SlopeScience’s capabilities and can show your slope angle and aspect when used with a Google Earth plug-in. The company hopes that future versions will have text to speech capabilities as well.

The basic device includes a low powered Bluetooth adapter for communications with the smartphone, and is capable of talking with both Android and iPhones. There is a 0.96” OLED display that is capable of being read in bright sunlight. The rechargeable battery is good for three days on a single charge.

I have a semi humorous vision of the completely connected athlete of the future. Say that they are a skier. Smartphone securely packed away in a pocket with no need to get it out. They have goggles that provide a clear image of the terrain and can connect to the phone and listen to music.

Then they have on their Pebble watch so that they can connect to the phone, view the menu at the snack bar and see what their friends are texting from the beginning slops. I do believe that with all of the emerging options it will be interesting to see which technologies and products pan out and which ones do not. There is no doubt in my mind that used properly some of these products will certainly enhance the outdoor experience.

Recon and Partners Show off Heads Up Display Technology at TELUS

If you are lucky enough to be at the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2012 being held this weekend in Whistler, B.C. you can get a first look at goggles that do now most of what Google is seeking to do with its Project Glass effort, courtesy of Recon Instruments.

We have written about Recon before, and even mentioned them yesterday in a piece on Oakley creating projection glasses, and the company appears to have a lap on the competition in the area of developing sports glasses that have display and interconnect capabilities.

Now the company is giving a sneak preview of some unreleased products that will not be available to the general public until next ski season, but if you have the chance we recommend taking a look, either at the festival if you are one of the lucky few, or at a local ski shop for current versions of the technology.

The reason for the enthusiasm is that it increasingly appears that this type of technology may be heading towards the mainstream, and as often is the case, it is niche markets that will lead the way. Do you want to find out if glasses that provide a range of features from music to navigation will affect your concentration? Well here is your chance to find out. It is one thing to have a connected item such as a watch but another world when the item is glasses, or in this case goggles.

Back to Recon; they will be showing the unreleased Recon ready Scott NAV-R 2 Goggle that is designed to fit the Recon GPS Micro Optics Display, the MOD and MOD Live. The MOD products incorporate Recon’s Heads Up Display (HUD) technology. MOD Live can provide a variety of sets of feedback data such as jump analytics and speed as well as connect to a smartphone for calls and music playlists.

So head on over and take a gander, or you can always wander over to the company’s site and examine the technology there instead, you could be ahead of the wave of the future.