With companies like Oculus VR, Sony and AntVR all working away feverishly to develop the next generation of Virtual Reality hardware, you’d be forgiven for thinking that that was the one way we’ll be viewing our digital world in the future. However not everyone agrees, with many believing it’s likely to be more of an augmented reality, rather than a virtual one. Snow 2 is a product by Recon Instruments that offers that augmented viewing now, through a custom heads up display designed specifically with skiiers and snowboarders in mind.
The Snow 2 is equipped with plenty of features which will give every skiier a much more information rich experience when they hit the slopes. Built in sensors offers heads up information on your current speed, vertical descent angle, distance travelled and your airtime if you happen to hit a jump or two. You’ll also able to augment this sensor suite with third party applications, cameras and other fitness trackers, letting you keep an eye on your heart rate, exertion levels and whatever else those particular products are able to tell you about.
However, with regards to the built in sensory features of the Snow 2, it achieves its impressive tracking using several high-end sensors. It has a GPS and barometric pressure sensor, an altimeter and analytics software that compiles information on your most recent runs, or gives you a breakdown of how you’ve improved over a season. All of this is displayed on a translucent projection with the equivalent of a 14″ display at 5ft distance.
Other features include the ability to track friends and family while on the slopes, so you can stay in touch easily. You can call them up if you need to as well, as the heads up display is fully compatible with your smartphone. You can listen to music while you do it too.
All of this is powered by a dual core CPU and sends information wirelessly over bluetooth.
As it stands you can buy the HUD projection system on its own for $399 (£230), or the full goggles and HUD hardware for $549 (£325). There are cheaper alternatives if you want them, but they’re older versions of both goggles and HUD system, so you won’t be getting all of the features or the performance of the Snow 2.
Cost is obviously a factor with any sort of wearable, but while the Snow 2 is far from cheap, neither is the hobby of skiing once you factor in flights, accommodation and equipment – even if you live near a slope, there’s other costs involved. I don’t think a few hundred is too much to expect people to pay, but a demo would probably be required before many people would consider it on top of what they’re already spent.
The Snow 2 seems like a pretty interesting product, especially since it’s based around a sport that requires wearing goggles anyway, so it’s much more natural to include these sorts of heads up features. It also seems like a platform that could be implemented in other facets of life, especially for divers or other sports that require goggles of some kind.