I’m looking forward to the ski season which isn’t that far away I hope. The local ski slope has worked hard with their snow cannons the last week to prepare for the downhill skiers. Nevertheless looking out the window this December evening is a sad view. The few millimeters of snow that recently covered the ground is raining away. Well, well… What’s not better than search through the internet trying to find a new piece of cool winter gadget?
And what I found is so awesome I want one right away. I found a high tech gadget with an on-board computer and Heads-Up Display you can place inside your goggles!
Heads-Up Display for Alpine Skiers
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Last year I remember trying out different apps on my iPhone that supposedly would track my movements in the ski slopes. I wanted to measure my speed, distance, and heights. But it didn’t work very well. One of the main reasons might have been that my iPhone couldn’t handle the cold winter days and shut down constantly. I dreamt of a device that could show me the speed inside my ski goggles, and here it is including a lot more features than that.
The Recon Snow2 is a piece of high tech equipment made by the Canadian company Recon Instruments which deliver Heads-Up Displays (HUD) for the consumer market. They have also come up with a HUD for glasses used by runners and cyclists. In simple terms, these products project an image with information that is hovering in front of your eyes and follow your head movements.
Here is an introduction video from the company that explains what a HUD is:
The Snow2 unit itself is placed inside your ski goggles and will according to the manufacturer fit any Recon Ready alpine goggle. I’m not entirely sure how you know if a goggle is Recon Ready or not. Enlighten me in the comment section if you know. You can also buy the cool ski gadget pre-installed in some product like the UVEX G.GL9 goggle.
Wow… Sensors, sensors, sensors
Inside the unit, a whole lot of sensors measure your speed, jumps, directions, distance, vertical descent and more. I find all these sensors so fascinating that I have to mention them all: It has GPS, gyroscope, altimeter, accelerometer, magnetometer, and thermometer. The collected data is processed by a small built-in computer with dual-core CPU and shown on a high-res display. It feels like you’re looking at a transparent 14″ monitor 1.5 meters away with high brightness and contrast.
The device has both Bluetooth and Wifi on-board so you can hook it up to your smartphone and receive and read SMS messages in midair if that’s what you want. A remote with big buttons is strapped around your lower arm and it communicates with the Snow2 via Low Energy Bluetooth. It’s waterproof and I suppose they have tested it in really cold conditions too.
The Snow2 specification states that the max operating temperature is -20 degrees Celsius which may not be enough in my opinion. But you should be careful when skiing in colder temperatures anyway, so maybe it’s ok after all. Another concern is that I have had lots of troubles with smartphones on cold days as mentioned before, so I hope it’s possible to use the goggles without it.
Cameras and music players can also be paired up and controlled with this nice ski gadget.
Limitless Possibilities for Developers
I see virtually endless possibilities for this product and what kind of information you can present on the HUD. The GPS will be able to provide you with maps on where you are so you’ll never get lost in a new slope. You will be able to track down your friends and see on the map where they are which have always been a challenge in ski resorts.
Imagine everything you can display from the Internet through your smartphone like opening hours of the lifts, the weather and the burger price in the restaurant nearby.
Recon Instruments has a full program for developers who want to experiment and make their own applications for the ski gadget. A SDK and API are possible to download so I’m sure we’ll see a lot of cool new functions in the future.
Software and App
Like other activity trackers these days, this snow sports gadget has its own app and online community you upload your statistics to. It’s called Recon Engage and you can review your latest runs and share them with friends and on social media. Both smartphones and tablets with Android and iOS are supported.
Price and Purchase
The price is quite high at $399, but I think it’s justified by the coolness and the number of functions this product have. It’s so high-tech that I guess it suits the advanced alpine skier more than the average. You can buy it directly from Recon and if you did, please leave me a comment down below.
Maybe one day all ski goggles for both kids and adults have this technology as standard. No more lost kids in the slope.
I just hope it starts snowing again…