A coming together of sports lens developer Zeal Optics and display innovator Recon Instruments has managed to successfully squeeze both GPS technology and head-mounted display into a set of ski goggles named Transcend. A tiny computer gathers information from a number of onboard sensors and provides location, speed, altitude and temperature information to the wearer via a micro-LCD display inside the goggles. The image from the display is then virtually projected so that it appears out in front of the user.
In addition to being touted by Recon and Zeal as the world's first GPS-enabled skiing goggles, the Transcend eyewear also provides the wearer with live performance information and details of the surrounding environment. A head mounted micro-LCD display inside the goggles shows real-time speed, altitude, vertical odometer, distance, location and temperature as well as keeping track of the time and having a stopwatch and chronometer mode.
The optical system designed by Recon Instruments has been likened to the dashboard of a sports car and made to appear as though it hangs about six feet in front of the user. Your first thought might be that the last thing you need mid-boost are performance stats blocking out your landing, but the designers say that the "optics are completely non-obtrusive for front and peripheral vision."
Recon has produced a promo giving an overview of the kind of things on offer, which is worth a watch:
To the side of the Transcend goggles are a threesome of nice, big, glove-friendly buttons to control the kind of information shown. There's also a USB port to enable users to download trip stats to a computer or laptop and to charge the Li-ion battery, which is said to give seven hours between charges. The goggles weigh 257 grams (9 ounces) and come shipped with a protective hard case, lens cleaning bag and a charger with European and North American adapters.
Showing off an epic journey to friends is given a more impressive twist with the ability to overlay Google Maps onto stats and highlights courtesy of Recon HQ software. Any particularly impressive snippets can be uploaded to Recon's new online portal and shared with the world – or at the very least, family and friends.
There will be two Recon/Zeal Optics Transcend lens options available at limited release launch on October 10. The option with an SPPX polarized and photochromic lens – which auto adjusts to changing light conditions – carries a retail price of US$499. Said to reduce glare by 99 per cent, coming with built-in anti-fog technology and benefiting from a wide vision frame, the goggles featuring an SPX polarized lens are priced at US$399.