Would you like to have more control on what happens while you ski or snowboard? You should try augmented reality, and GogglePal is the tech gadget perfect for you!
No, we are not talking about another pair of glasses or bulky headset: the creators, fans of snowsports themselves, thought about this too; GogglePal is an insert adaptable to any kind of ski or snowboard goggles that permits you to have right in front of your eyes a Head Up Display (HUD), a display that let you see information without moving your eyes from the track. The device, that was protagonist of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, has been launched in four different models: Sport, Connect, Play and Play Gold (this last one is just different in the color), all lightweight and highly portable.
GogglePal’s features are similar to other wearable devices created for sports or driving that we saw earlier (e.g. BMW Digilens and Skully, presented at CES 2016): attaching the insert to the lens, and doing so implementing augmented in your ski goggles, it will be possible to access some important information as speed, vertical, calories burned, acceleration, time and direction, and see it all in real time from a small heads up display right in the corner of your eye.
There is a gamification part too: GogglePal’s app connects you with your friends through a message service while keeping track of their position as well, but also activates games and challenges that you can race with them to gain points as you travel distances and find chests on a special, virtual map.
The device has been created with snowsports in mind, but the creators are thinking also of future models for other sports in need of a HUD.
No more available on Kickstarter, GogglePal can be pre-ordered on their official site; for now there is only a iPhone version of the app, we don’t know if in the future will be made available also an Android one.
You can see more in the video below:
Massimo Vian, CEO of the Italian eyewear colossus Luxottica, announced that soon there will be a new version of Google Glass.
In January, Google stopped the sales of the first version of the Glass eyewear, released in 2013 to users who applied to test the internet-connected device; the reason for this sudden change of mind was explained by Google Glass chief Ivy Ross, who revealed that a new version of the eyewear device would be cheaper and have longer battery life, improved sound quality and a better display, adding that they are working on pairing the device with a wide range of familiar types of eyewear.
This made a lot of users think that the big G was shutting down the Google Glass project, but we already could sense something was moving, since during March 2014, Luxottica’s CEO announced that they were starting a partnership with them.
Massimo Vian told shareholders: “In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear]. What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation.”
This clearly means that, even if he didn’t give a certain time for the release, the second version of Google Glass is on its way. In fact, a press release from Luxottica explained that “the two Corporations will establish a team of experts devoted to working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products that straddle the line between high-fashion, lifestyle and innovative technology.” Moreover, two of the most famous Luxottica’s brands, Oakley and Ray-Ban, were mentioned to be part of the project.
It seems that Google will not be the only partnership that will take Luxottica in the world of advanced technology and glasses: they made another announcement saying they are collaboranting with Intel on different wearable eyewear products; we’ll see hopefully the first results in February or March of next year.
Do you remember Sony SmartEyeglass? If you read our blog in last months, you already know we are talking about a new Augmented Reality headset from this article: Sony SmartEyeglass and Attach: the Developer Edition will arrive in March
They were expected to arrive on the shelves during the last month and, in fact, here they are: March 28 they started to be sold in ten countries around the world, between which Japan, Germany, Italy, UK and United States (for some of the countries you have to be a business client to have them). The price has been set to $ 840, about the price of a laptop, and to work them you’ll have to have an Android device running 4.4 KitKat or higher.
Sony vs Google
With this product, Sony outdone Google: if, on one hand, they are similar to Google Glass in the functionalities, on the other, they are a more developed product and they cost less. The price, in fact, as we said is set to $ 840, while Google Glass beta is $1500.
Sony SmartEyeglass is a good headset to start with, but we don’t have to forget this is just the Developer Edition; this means the product is still far from being perfect, and some sites that tested them said they are “unfinished”. The green text seems to cause headache for some people, many others don’t like that the battery and the remote are in the external box that have to be worn pinned to clothes.
Therefore, it’s clear that, for how much revolutionary this headset could be, a lot of work still has to be done. For now, you can decide to join Sony’s experiment to develop them.
Augmented Reality can be very useful for many operations; during these months, we saw it used for various purposes, sometimes on mobile devices, sometimes on headsets. If it can be so useful daily on earth, think how much it could improve the life of astronauts in space. This is why NASA is testing a pair of Augmented Reality glasses that, if successful, are going to be used on the International Space Station.
At first, NASA tried to approach repeatedly Google trying to get them to work on a pair of special Google Glasses, but the Company said they were working only on consumers.
So NASA has partnered with San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group (ODG) to develop augmented reality glasses that could supplement computers for astronauts. The ODG Company has been building high-tech glasses for commercial and government use for the past six years, and the latest model pack HD displays and cameras, Wi-Fi, GPS, positional sensors and headphones. Currently these glasses have been used mostly for military use, but now the company, while testing also with NASA, is preparing a version for the consumer market.
The primary objective is to help astronauts fixing equipment in space: now they do that just reading printed instructions, but with these new glasses, they would be able to get the directions directly in front of their eyes since they will be uploaded in the headset. This will leave their hands free, also, making it easier to fix.
“As electronic directions and instructions replace paper checklists and longer duration missions are considered, there is a need for tools that can meet evolving demands. ODG’s technology provides an opportunity to increase space mission efficiencies and we are pleased to explore its potential in human spaceflight while also advancing its use here on earth.” said NASA Johnson Space Center Engineering Director Lauri Hansen. “Just put the glasses on and say ‘Next step,’ and you’re looking through an instruction manual”.
The glasses are currently being tested in NASA’s underwater Extreme Environment Mission Operations lab before being used on the ISS.
At CES 2015, Sony presented two interesting new entries in the Augmented Reality wearable devices market: Sony SmartEyeglass and SmartEyeglass Attach.
SmartEyeglass is Sony’s answer to Google Glass: a pair of glasses as in the case of the Cupertino company, but with some significant differences. The first difference is clear: while Google Glass are not catching the eye at first gaze, Sony SmartEyeglass have thick frames resembling ski goggles; consequently, they are not particularly discreet. In addition, SmartEyeglass have to be worn with a disk pinned to clothes: this is the battery and the remote for the glasses, so the user doesn’t have to vocally communicate with the Android system. This is a pro because the user will not have to say in public what he is going to do, but also creates a privacy issue: the people interacting with him will never be sure if they are being captured on screen. Last but not least, there’s a big difference in the display: while Google Glass have a delimited view on a side of a lens, SmartEyeglass have a display integrated in the lens and monochromatic, with layered vivid green written information. Even in this case there are pros and cons: the focus of the layered elements on Sony’s product will be easier, but the view will be mostly occupied with data. To make an idea of how this device works, watch the presentation video:
Another product presented by the japanese company, maybe even more interesting, is Sony SmartEyeglass Attach: it’s a little device that can be attached at the side of our glasses and sunglasses to turn them into head-mounted displays. As for Google Glass, SmartEyeglass Attach creates in front of one of your eyes a discreet display that can be easily ignored until required. The battery in this case is inside the little device, so it doesn’t have to be pinned to clothes as we seen for SmartEyeglass. At CES, the SmartEyeglass Attach was already on the Sony glasses, so it was not possible to try it and be sure of the ease of the attachment on the glasses, but the device seems to be very light and easy to use.
While Sony SmartEyeglass Attach doesn’t have a release date yet, the Developer Edition of Sony’s SmartEyeglasses first seen at CES 2015 are now available to pre-order from Sony for £540 plus VAT (circa 670 euro).