I had a chance to interview Fraser Hall, Chairman of Recon Instruments, about their award-winning GPS goggles with head mounted display. Their first product, Transcend, was named an International CES Best of Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree.
Transcend is a pair of GPS-enabled head mounted display goggles. The ski and snowboard goggles monitor and display your traveling speed and time, outdoor temperature, altitude including a vertical odometer, and lets you track the number of runs you’ve completed using the built-in run counter. Two days worth of recorded data can be stored in the goggles. This data can later be exported via USB to the included Recon HQ software. Recon HQ is compatible with Mac and PC and allows you to analyze your stats. Recon HQ is also connected to their social community where you can compete in contests, share stories, and continue building upon your stats.
While you are blazing down the hill, your stats appear in front of you on a 320×240 display. The display is vision augmented so it is the equivalent to looking at a 15” monitor from five feet away. Because the lens is focused out at infinity, you don’t need away from the trail to view your stats. This allows you to continue concentrating on whats in front of you without sacrificing your safety, but also giving you the information you need from the head-up display (HUD).
There is enough onboard memory to record data for two straight days. The battery lasts approximately 6 hours in cold weather and 8 hours in warm weather. The battery is easily recharged using the supplied USB cable—the same connection that is used to export your tracked statistics.
In addition to their current product offering, Recon plans to partner with other goggle manufactures to make their eyewear Recon-ready. Other goggle brands would build a cavity into their model to support the addition of the Recon hardware and software into the goggles. You would then be able to purchase the Recon hardware by itself and use it with your favorite pair.
This year Recon plans to expand its offering into a wider range of action sports including downhill cycling and motorcycle helmets. A logical next step as they continue to move and apply their product in different markets. Recon plans to power their goggles with the Android platform and continue updating its software with new feature enhancements. Some of these new features include:
- Buddy Tracking – Lets you see where your other friends are on the mountain
- Music Playlist Connectivity – see what song is playing and what’s coming up next
- Phone connectivity – View your text messages and see who’s calling
- Navigation Enhancements – Turn-by-turn navigation and directions
The Transcend is a phenomenal product and Cosby Sweaters applauds Recon Instruments for their technological innovation.
The Transcend sells for $399 with polarized lenses and $499 for polarized and photochromic lenses. To learn more about Recon Instruments and their Transcend goggles, please visit them at www.reconinstruments.com.