When you're streaking down a steep slope on your snowboard or skis, the last thing you want to do is pull up a piece of electronics for whatever purpose (it's pretty much a sure way of ramming into a tree or tripping on a rock). Sometimes, though, seeing a trail map or knowing how far behind you are from your friends will prove immensely helpful. That's where Recon Instruments' upcoming Alpine Goggle comes in.
More than a pair of protective specs that keep the wind from your eyes, the high-tech goggles come with a heads-up display that provides a bevy of useful information right on the lens. Information that show up include a map of the trail you're running on, real-time locations of other skiers in your group, vitals (speed, altitude and temperature) and even your riding stats. Sure, those are the same things you can get from a pocket navigator (or even a phone with the appropriate software). While wearing thick winter gear with heavy padding (not to mention, sliding down at high speeds), though, that's not exactly the easiest thing in the world.
To facilitate the function, the Alpine Google integrates the electronic components right at the frame. Aside from the HUD that appears on the lens, it comes with its own set of sensors, including a GPS radio.
If it works (and, without a working prototype, it's only a promise at this point), this wearable rig can definitely change the way we experience winter sports, turning it into a veritable video game with numbers and stats to guide you every step of the way. More importantly, imagine what a similar HUD can do for other activities - from hunters tracking a wild animal to folks encroached on a motorcycle to firemen in a rescue mission. Integrated with augmented reality, the possibilities border on the scale of "pretty amazing."
Recon promises the first models to come during Summer/Fall next year, with prices starting at $350.