“Extreme sports require extreme technology” is the kind of tagline that you would expect to see in the upcoming months as the winter season slowly starts to kick in and us Brits head of to Europe, North America and pretty much anywhere where there is snow to indulge in the nation’s favourite middle class past-time: skiing.
Of course, the skiing nowadays is a far reach from how the sport originated, as is the equipment used and this year Recon Instruments have brought us the next step forward with regards to the technology used in goggles by introducing the world’s first GPS Ski Goggles with a Head-Up Display (HUD).
But first let’s have a look at some of the basics: with regards to aesthetics they are nothing amazing, but equally they are far from mundane with a cool orange tint to the lens and ‘futuristic’ looking buttons on the side which is the only real visual hint that these are more than just eye-protectors.
In fact these buttons are what you will use to operate the mini-computer housed in the goggles, and have been specifically designed to be ‘glove friendly’; i.e. even with the thickest of gloves and lack of sensation you can still operate the three buttons, and although the number is a little limiting the fact that there are so few means that it is a lot easier to work out which button is which… they are also sealed making them, as you would expect, weatherproof.
But the really special thing about these goggles is what those buttons operate, and that is the host of sensors that sit inside the frame of the goggles that enable to you access a whole wealth of information whilst on the move which include speed, longitude/latitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run counter, temperature and time.
All of this is available at the touch of a button which shows all of this information on a head mounted micro LCD display screen with full colour optics, allowing you to access all of the aforementioned data without much effort at all.
The real selling point of these goggles is that they are the only examples in the world that boasts GPS tracking capabilities in combination with the head mounted display, and it is also the first to offer USB charging and data transfer the latter of which allows you to use the free post-processing software ‘Recon HQ’ which allows you to analyse the data in more detail in a more user friendly interface.
Due to the premium price of these GPS/HUD Ski Goggles really are only for the most dedicated and well-off enthusiasts and unfortunately it is unlikely that any of us will be seeing them on the slope any time soon, but hopefully now that this sort of combination of technology is on the market it will spark a host of new products which will drive the price down to more reasonable levels and, fingers crossed, even more, improvements!