Literally just down the block from our offices here at Techvibes, a Yaletown company has taken skiing technology to new heights. And then, down a slope to new lows.
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Recon Instruments has designed a set of ski goggles with tiny LCD displays in the eyepieces. A stopwatch, a GPS locator, altimeter and an odometer are displayed for the skier to see at all times, almost as if playing a video game.
Last week, Recon Instruments received a prestigious innovation prize in consumer electronics when the International CES technology tradeshow gave Transcend the 2011 Design and Engineering Award. Recon will display the goggles at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, Nevada in January.
The firm is now fielding calls from global industry and multinational corporations and U.S., Canadian and European militaries. But the goggles today are designed for the slopes.
Transcend, which uses Zeal lenses and retails for $429 and $539, is potentially useful as a training device for downhill racers, but Eisenhardt says the goggles were not designed for the exclusive use by athletes. “Of course the competitive athlete will find this a great training tool but that’s not why we crated it. This is for everybody.”
I think competitive skiers will find the goggles’ recording abilities the most intriguing; you can record times at runs, then upload them to Recon’s website and other social media websites to compare with other skiers. The goggles don’t have a camera — yet — but that seems to be the next logical step, and once they incorporate a camera, uploading run videos to YouTube can’t be far behind.
With all this technology, it’s only a matter of time before skiers start seeing slopes less like athletes, and more like the Predator.