Android powered ski goggles deliver high tech fun to the slopes

There is no doubt that we live in an increasingly connected world. Mobile Internet access, social networking, and the continued proliferation of smartphones, now keep us in constant contact no matter where we go. Now, that connection is about to extend to the ski slopes, thanks to a new high tech display system that is integrated right inside our ski goggles.

Recon Instruments has just released their MOD and MOD Live systems, which are designed to fit into any Recon Ready goggles, which are available from a variety of manufacturers. The Micro-Optics Displays (MOD) provide skiers and snowboarders with a wealth of information while they’re on the mountain, while simultaneously recording a plethora of data as well. For instance, the MOD system keeps track of speed, altitude, distance traveled, temperature, location, and so on. All of that data can be displayed on the tiny screen, and is available right at your fingertips.

The basic MOD functionality is quite cool, even if it isn’t necessarily something new. But where Recon Instruments is really raising the bar is with their MOD Live system. This product contains everything you find in the basic MOD, but adds on-board navigation, an option for tracking the location of your buddies on the mountain, and even a list of points of interest at the ski resort itself. The Live system is powered by Android and connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone as well, allowing text messages and caller ID to be displayed on the screen, along with track information from the music that you are listening to.

The fun doesn’t end there either. After you’ve finished up on the slopes, you can go home and upload all the data to your computer, then post your results on Recon’s HQ Online community. You’ll also be able to add photos and video and brag about your day through Facebook and Twitter.

I had the chance to put a pair of these goggles on at the Outdoor Retailer show this past August, and thought that they were a lot of fun. The display is easy to read and the amount of information available was pretty amazing. I imagine these could be a big hit for skiers and snowboarders who spend a lot of time on the slopes. They look like they are a lot of fun and super convenient as well.

The MOD and MOD Live are available now with a price tag of $299 and $399 respectively.

Recon Instruments Fall 2011 Product Lineup from Recon Instruments on Vimeo.

High tech ski goggles incorporate GPS, LCD display, kitchen sink

There is a decidedly high tech movement afoot on the ski slopes this season. First, we saw stat tracking and social networking brought to the mountains courtesy of RFID tags embedded in lift tickets in Colorado and now we have a set of high tech goggles that incorporate GPS functionality, a tiny LCD display, and a multitude of other features that will keep you in the know while playing in the snow.

The new Transcend Goggles from Zeal Optics incorporate a GPS chip that keeps track of speed, distance traveled, vertical drop, direction and location. That data can be examined on the LCD screen, which is mounted in the lower right hand corner of the goggle frames. The screen also displays the current time, temperature, altitude, and so on. Data is stored in an on board memory chip and can be uploaded to your computer later in order to measure progress and performance gains. The GPS tracking can also plot your tracks on Google Maps as well.

The new goggles are available now and come in two flavors, with the style of lens being the only difference. The “basic” model includes polarized lenses and costs $399 while the $499 models offer polarized and photochromatic lens, which provide even more protection for your eyes on those sunny days on the slopes. Both models also include built in lithium batteries that are good for seven hours of use between charges.

While I haven’t had a chance to try these goggles personally, they do look like the would be a lot of fun to use. It is amazing how technology had pervaded so far into our favorite outdoor pursuits, but when it is used in a unique and interesting way, it can really be a useful enhancement to the experience. These goggles look like they fall solidly into that category.