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.

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.

Oakley Developing Connected Sports Glasses

A while back we mentioned that Google was developing glasses in an effort named Project Glass that would provide real time feedback for users-well it seems that they are not the only one and Oakley is in tests with technology that could rival Google’s efforts.

Oakley executives said that they have been working on connected eyewear since 1997, which makes them quite the visionaries, and that the technology that they are developing would be compatible with Google’s Project Glass.

The basic specs that it indicated it was working with would call for glasses that have a built-in features as well as the ability to connect wirelessly, via Bluetooth, to a smartphone, with the possibility to it supporting voice commands. In the past the company has released glasses that have an MP3 player, and the product line is still on the market under the name of Thump.

Initially Oakley sees this type or product being marketed at athletes and possibly the military as well. It has some patents related to this area among it’s over 600 patents and has said that it is willing to license them.

I suspect that rather than being a rival to Google’s efforts Oakley seems like a prime candidate as a partner, licensing the software and adding its own on top. I can see this taking off in sports, and also leagues passing rules to ban them. It would be a great advantage to a golfer if his glasses gave him all of the breaks or a baseball batter whose eyewear helped identify what type of pitch had just been thrown.

The more I think about it the more I think I would enjoy all of the potential chaos that this type of product would bring to professional sports.

It should be noted that you can already get glasses that provide real time feedback, or rather goggles, if you are a skier, since there are several options already available. Recon Instruments, a startup in Vancouver, it markets a technology called Micro Optics Display (MOD) and is designed for use in skiing goggles. It is an adjustable, color widescreen micro LCD that provides real-time information to the athlete such as speed, GPS location, jump airtime, vertical and total distance traveled, temperature, altitude and time.

While not quite the same as what Oakley and Google are developing I think it shows that this type of technology is nearing mainstream and will likely expand into a wide variety of applications going forward.