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Hands-on: Recon Instruments Snow2, an iPhone-connected heads-up display for sports

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
iPhone toting athletes looking to stay connected without having to take their eyes and hands off the task at hand have a few sports-oriented heads-up display options from Recon Instruments. At this week's Consumer Electronics Show, we took a closer look at the Snow2 headset, just in time for ski season, and were also given a sneak peek at the upcoming Jet.

Recon


Recon Snow2 is actually the name of the electronics that users can place inside of their goggles. But a complete kit dubbed Oakley Airwave 1.5, a collaboration between Oakley and Recon with Snow2 already integrated, is also available, and that's the product we took a look at.

Recon's technology is not dissimilar from Google Glass, perhaps the most famous heads-up display technology to date, allowing users to access information at a glance without needing to look at their phone, or even a smart watch. But Recon's products, which also include the glasses-mounted Jet set to launch this spring, are intended for athletes who want instant access to information such as performance metrics, trail maps, and more traditional data such as incoming text messages and calls.

We've tested Google Glass, and felt like a jerk while we were using it. That's one of the advantages of Snow2: Everyone is wearing goggles on the mountain, so you don't stand out if you're using Recon's heads-up display.

In addition, we found that the Recon's display was superior to Google Glass when adjusted to our liking. And we feel the sports-oriented nature of Recon's products give them more of a purpose than Google Glass.

Recon


Users aren't limited to Oakley and can bring their own goggles too. That's why Recon works with a few companies, allowing consumers to find the style and facial fit that's right for them.

Thanks to an integrated, GPS, the Recon HUD can display data such as speed, altitude, location, and compass. If a group of people on the mountain are using Snow2 and are connected to their iPhone, they can share their position on a map with friends, making it easy to find each other while on the slopes.

That's not to say that a paired smartphone is necessary -- data, such as the altimeter and aforementioned performance stats, will function just fine without a connected device.

Recon's heads-up displays are designed to be unobtrusive. Placed on the periphery of a user's vision, they can glance down to see information when they want to --?much like looking at the dashboard in a car.

Recon


Recon also has a software development kit, allowing third-parties to access Snow2 or the upcoming Jet, sharing health and fitness information from heart monitors, or allowing users to remotely control a wireless camera. The Recon devices connect through Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth Classic, and ANT+, meaning they offer a wide range of compatibility with existing smart sensors on the market.

While we got to take a quick look at the glasses-mounted Jet, which will launch this spring, we spent some more time testing out the Snow2 with Oakley Airwave, which is currently available. We found that the head-mounted display was clear and easy to read once adjusted to our personal preferences.

Though we were in Las Vegas, and not on a mountain, when we sampled the Snow2, we came away very impressed with the display. The screen is also stiff, which we believe would be good for avoiding vibrations while in use.



Recon's devices connect to a companion iOS application called Airwave, which allows users to track their friends, keep track of their stats, and share data in real time to social media such as Facebook.

The Recon Snow2 HUD can be purchased as a standalone unit for $399, though it's completely sold out for the 2013-2014 ski season. The Oakley Airwave 1.5 retails for $649, while the Snow2 HUD & UVEX G.GL 9 Bundle is $549. The company's previous-generation MOD Live HUD, with included iOS remote for iPhone control, remains available for $299.

While the Snow2 is ideal for skiing and snowboarding, the upcoming Jet is intended for triathletes, sailing, golf, running and biking. It's available for preorder now for $599, and will have the added benefit of an integrated camera, something the Snow2 does not have.
post #2 of 11

That’s great; look slightly to the side, crash into a tree/off a cliff.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That’s great; look slightly to the side, crash into a tree/off a cliff.

Then chauffeured by ambulance to the store for the milk and eggs.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

That’s great; look slightly to the side, crash into a tree/off a cliff.

 

Maybe, but these are actually activities where such a real-time display could be very useful. I think this will be one of the technologies that flourishes.

post #5 of 11
I'd rather where this in public (outside of its intended public use) than Google Glass, but that may be because this might actual obscure my appearance so I wouldn't be recognized.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'd rather where this in public (outside of its intended public use) than Google Glass, but that may be because this might actual obscure my appearance so I wouldn't be recognized.

In other words you're willing to look like a dick just as long as no one recognizes that the dick is you, makes sense. lol.gif
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #7 of 11

Zeal Optics has a variety of goggles with these features already built in and have had them for years...

 

http://www.zealoptics.com/shop/goggles.html?dir=desc&order=price

--Larry
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--Larry
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That’s great; look slightly to the side, crash into a tree/off a cliff.

You don't say ski! You don't need to look at the slope constantly; one can easily enjoy the landscape while doing 55mph.

As for the product, I'm actually failing to see its use. When you go skiing, the signs show you where you are, the altitude, length of slope and so on. This info is better served for later review, by using GPS (dedicated device or iOS app), so you can see it on a map and all accompanying info there is.

I'll 'keep track of my friends' by looking at them, not a HUD in goggles I don't wear anyhow. The camera OTOH will be a seller; I've seen the number of people having one growing fast.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That’s great; look slightly to the side, crash into a tree/off a cliff.

You don't say ski! You don't need to look at the slope constantly; one can easily enjoy the landscape while doing 55mph.

As for the product, I'm actually failing to see its use. When you go skiing, the signs show you where you are, the altitude, length of slope and so on. This info is better served for later review, by using GPS (dedicated device or iOS app), so you can see it on a map and all accompanying info there is.

I'll 'keep track of my friends' by looking at them, not a HUD in goggles I don't wear anyhow. The camera OTOH will be a seller; I've seen the number of people having one growing fast.

For backcountry (off-piste in Europe) travel and skiing you don't get signs. Also in low-visibility conditions. Or even just in many areas where the signage is poor.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

For backcountry (off-piste in Europe) travel and skiing you don't get signs. Also in low-visibility conditions. Or even just in many areas where the signage is poor.

Well, all depends on the weather circumstances, that's true. Maybe I'm used to too much blue jeans and T-shirt skiing. Your Climate May Vary.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #11 of 11
Bought the Oakley Airwave 1.5 in time for the ski season. They are great but unlike what people think, you really don't spend time looking at the HUD unless you've stopped or just slowly coasting. Skiing is just to intensive and need to watch/calculate your next move if playing hard!

5 days on the snow and already racked up 97.5 miles of skiing with 87,560' of vertical drop.

About the only drawbacks:
1) Loss of peripheral vision which makes it tough to ski backwards. This is due to the computer on one side and the battery pack on the other.
2) Even with the larger buttons on the wrist control, they are still tough to push with gloved fingers. I find myself using the ski pole handle%u2019s edge to push the buttons.
3) Battery lasts about 6 hours, but is easy to recharge if you take a break and have access to a power outlet. I usually ski straight through the day and after 5 hours am ready to go have some drinks.

On the good side:
1) Really like how easy it is to navigate through my music without needing to pull out my iPhone.
2) Oakley Airwaves have two different lenses that can be used which are fairly easy to change.
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