Oakley has just rolled out what might be the goggles to rule all goggles. However, I suggest we think about what this technology holds for the future. I believe it has more applications than just the ski slopes.
The new technology-packed AirWave snow goggles have GPS, jump analytics, caller-id, text messaging, Bluetooth, and music controls, all available from a heads-up display. You can read all the information while riding the slopes. The goggles also come preloaded with maps of many popular ski resorts to find your location and track other members of your party using the goggles or Oakley's app. The goggles can also sense temperature, altitude, velocity and vertical descent data. A gyroscope and accelerometer are also included and are available to software developers who wish to write third-party apps for the goggles.
With the Bluetooth connectivity and an iPhone, you can view incoming calls and text messages without ever taking your phone out of your pocket. You can also view and control music playlists from the goggles. Most of the functions are controlled through the wireless, glove-friendly remote that you wear around your wrist.
Now let's look to the future.
We all know that computers are becoming smaller and smaller these days. In fact, a major limitation today is the need for a screen that is large enough to display the required information. All the rest of the electronics may be micro-miniature, but we still need a display screen large enough for the human to read. The heads-up display in these goggles appears to solve the problem.
The screen stays out of the way during use. The screen will look like a 35.5-cm (13.97-inch) screen from 1.5 meters (1.64 yards) away.
I can picture using these goggles while driving an automobile or RV, walking down the street (ignoring strange looks from the people you meet), and even while working in the archives. Military pilots and helicopter pilots have been using heads-up displays on their helmets for years to reduce their workload. Those pilots are much busier than automobile drivers. The heads-up displays have been used to increase safety in their operation. Corvette sports cars have also offered optional heads-up displays for years so that drivers do not need to take their eyes off the road to look at gauges in the dashboard.
A few months ago, I got to briefly use a heads-up display in a military C-130 transport airplane and was impressed. Seeing all critical flight information, including GPS air maps, without taking one's eyes off the action in front of the airplane makes for much safer pilots. I'd love to have the same technology on my automobile and motor home as well as any other place where I don't want to be distracted by speedometers, temperature gauges, stereo controls, or GPS maps.
Using these goggles or similar heads-up displays, such as Google's recently-announced goggles, could result in major safety improvements. Best of all, when connected via wires or via Bluetooth, there would be no need to take the computer out of your purse or pocket.
Oakley's new heads up display goggles will be available from Oakley, SunglassHut, and at other retailers and ski resorts around the world starting on October 31. The company has not announced a final price yet. My guess is that they won't be cheap. However, we all know what happens to the prices of computer hardware within a few years.
You can read more about the Oakley Airwave goggles at http://goo.gl/EPRss.