Published January 21, 2014
It's like Google Glass, only tailored to the alpine aficionado.
Sports equipment company Oakley is back with a new version of the Airwave -- high-tech snow goggles complete with a built-in heads-up display (HUD), GPS, Wi-Fi, social media, an accelerometer, and a host of other features for the cold-weather adventurer.
"It communicates to a remote control that operates on your wrist, and it connects to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth," Oakley's Product Category Manager, Chris Petrillo, told FoxNews.com. The company held a "Learn 2 Ride" event during the Sundance film festival in Utah, in which celebrities and snowboarding pros had the opportunity to test it out what the company calls “version 1.5” for themselves.
"The new Airwave has an improved processing speed, and about a 30-35 percent increase in battery life," Petrillo said.
Users can access an extensive range of information such as barometric pressure, temperature, elevation and speed transmitted directly through the high-performance lenses via the cutting-edge prism technology. The goggles are also embedded with a "MOD live" device, which is described as a 14-inch screen that appears to be about 5 feet away, and a specially designed lens that promises a wide peripheral vision.
Those who long to know exactly how high, how fast and how far they moved or jumped -- in real time, of course -- will find that the GPS and analytic software has them covered. While this all may seem like a dangerous distraction, Petrillo assures that the design team took pains to ensure that didn't happen.
"It's like driving your car, you look at the windshield every once or glance down to look at your speed... The [goggle lens] is your windshield, and down here in the bottom right is your dashboard with all your analytics and information," Petrillo pointed out. "And if you are doing a run you can put it into sleep mode, and pull up all your data information like your maximum speed later... But you don't even notice the display running unless you actively look down on it, and that's when the smart optics kick in."
The Airwave 1.5 additionally offers music control. The user can put in ear buds and put his phone away, and then control music and playlists from his wrist as well as receive email and text message alerts.
"We don't want the technology to intrude on your experience, but we do want to enhance that experience," Petrillo continued. "There's a compass which turns with you, so that is great for something like Backcountry skiing. It also comes with more than 800 of the world's top ski resort maps pre-loaded so you know exactly where everything is and can obtain detailed information on the different runs."
But the most popular feature? Buddy-tracking.
"Your friends will show up on the map so you know exactly where they are," Petrillo added. "People really seem to love that."