1. Oakley Airwave
Oakley's Airwave ski goggles use the latest heads-up display technology from Recon Instruments.
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Imagine hitting the slopes while your favorite song is wirelessly pumped into your eardrums, GPS technology tracks your friends, and speed and jump altitudes are projected into one corner of your field of vision.
No, this isn't some futuristic dream -- it becomes reality on Oct. 31, with the release of Oakley's new Airwave ski goggles. It features a heads-up, Google Glass-like display, as well as high-tech analytics and data-tracking capabilities.
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Powered by Recon Instruments' latest heads-up technology, the goggles allow wearers to see information, such as how fast they're traveling, maps, temperature, playlists, locations of friends, and incoming calls and messages projected, into their field of vision. All of this is displayed in the lower righthand corner of the goggles -- so users can still see the snow in front of them -- and appears to the eye as if it were displayed on a 14-inch screen five feet away.
After purchasing the goggles for $599 and downloading a corresponding iPhone, iPod Touch or Android app, wearers operate the gadget using a wrist-mounted remote control. They can then track friends who've downloaded the free app, too, but haven't necessarily bought the goggles themselves. Text messages and phone calls are displayed in the goggles, so users can either respond quickly with customizable stock messages via the wrist remote -- "call you later," for example -- or take out their phone for lengthier replies. The remote can also control music, which is played via Bluetooth in the goggles.
The app comes pre-loaded with route maps for some 600 resorts worldwide. As skiers traverse those courses, data on max speed, highest jumps, descent in altitude and comparisons to past runs are all tracked and stored. This info is viewable within the goggles via the app and heads-up display, and is available online. An Airwave developer kit also lets programming-minded users create their own third-party apps to use with the goggles.
I got a chance to demo the Airwave goggles earlier this month, and came away impressed. Granted, sitting on a couch is a far cry from smashing down snowy mountains, but the heads-up display was clear, simple to navigate and non-invasive. Tucked away in the bottom right of the goggles, it seemed like something that would be easy to ignore or quickly glance at without losing concentration.
Oakley CEO Colin Baden told me that the ski goggles are likely just the first of many heads-up display products from the sports eyewear giant. Versions for runners, cyclists and motor sports could be on the way soon, and the potential for expansion, he said, is "pretty infinite."
Do Oakley's Airwave goggles seem like something that could make their way onto your Christmas wish list? Let us know in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.