A Computer, In Your Goggles

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You could take off your gloves, unfold the resort map, and figure out where you're going—or where you want to go. Or you could peel back your jacket cuff and peek at your altimeter. Or you could get all that info without even taking your eyes off the fall line. That's the idea behind Recon Instruments two new direct-to-eye data centers: they put all the info you could possibly want when you’re skiing or riding in view, from resort maps to a GPS, on a screen, inside your goggles–all without interfering with you vision.

The matchbook-sized devices, called the Mod and Mod Live, snap into the corner of compatible ski goggles and project onto a micro LED screen that appears in the lower right hand side of your peripheral vision about six feet away, and large enough to be easily readable.

Recon has packed the Mod/Mod Live with all the functionality it launched in last year’s Zeal goggle-specific device: GPS coordinates, altitude, speed, vertical drop, total distance traveled, temperature and standard watch functions. We were so impressed with the second gen of the Recon-Zeal goggle, the Zeal Transcend GPS SPPX, that we gave it a 2011 Radical Design award.

This season, Recon is even better. The new Mod and Mod Live devices not only are compatible with multiple goggle brands, but they have a total of 300 stats and functions that appear in navigable screens–see the picture above–in your peripheral vision.

Some of our favorite info bytes: pressure and temperature sensors, GPS, and three accelerometers that pinpoint your location every nanosecond, and give you speed, jump analytics, vert, altitude, distance, location and a run tracker. And that’s just in the basic version, the Mod. The Mod Live adds a buddy tracking function—it lets you find your friends who also have Recon, resort maps, bluetooth connectivity to your phone, play list management, text messaging, caller ID, and more. You control all of your goggles functions with a clicker on the side of your goggle, or a six button watch ($50, sold separately).

For now the tech is in ski goggles only—Zeal, Briko, Uvex and Alpina goggles are all compatible, and Recon promises more goggle brands will be coming on-line this winter. The company is also working on projects for the military, and eyewear and helmet mounts for sports from swimming to motocross. Because the Mods measure a wearer’s every move, they could give play-by-play tracking for coaching and help ski patrol find avy victims.

The Mod and Mod Live units run on Android, like many smart phones, and a library of downloadable apps that will further enhance their functionality is in the works. Available now, $300 for Mod; $400 for Mod LIve,

-Berne Broudy


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