Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS Glasses May Help You Get Around

The Recon Jet glasses provide GPS HUD for sports

It’s no surprise that GPS, one of the most useful and pervasive technologies today, has been integrated in various wearables to assist with location and navigation. Today I came across two different smartglasses that use GPS in completely different ways (and no, they aren’t Googleglass). While not exactly the sort of thing we’d normally cover, I thought they both were pretty cool ideas and wanted to share.

The first glasses are the Recon Jet glasses which are designed for athletes and probably most useful to cyclists. They look kind of futuristic to me and their main draw is a HUD display projected in the righthand lens. This display can show your trip information like elevation, distance, speed, etc or…well, anything. The glasses actually have a little microcomputer, camera and microphone and they can connect to your smartphone; so presumably they could display apps or even a map of your route and navigation. The glasses do have a GPS chip along with several other sensors.

Recon-Jet_black1-320x168Preordering is, unfortunately, completed but you can still purchase the Recon Jet on their site and they retail for $599 right now. They are available in black or white with sunglass lens. I believe preorders are set to be shipped during the first quarter of 2015, and I’m not sure when actual orders are set to be shipped. It looks like the glasses are still in their infancy and there aren’t many apps available, etc. However, the potential is pretty exciting.

Here’s a video from their site showing how the glasses work:

In contrast, the other GPS glasses that I stumbled across are created more for function than fun. These glasses, designed in Mexico under the “Smart Guide” project are actually aimed towards assisting the blind. The idea of helping the blind navigate with some form of GPS isn’t exactly revolutionary, but these glasses still have some neat ideas behind them. Check out a video explaining how they work here.

smart guide

Smart guide glasses help the blind see

The actual glasses themselves use a combination of ultrasonic waves to read colors and map out objects in the room. Between that, cameras and GPS, these smart glasses can give voice guidance to the visually impaired and identify objects, colors, directions, money, read street signs,  you name it. They look like something from a bad 70s science fiction novel, but the tech is still pretty cool and will undoubtedly be slimmed down in the coming years. The glasses are still in the prototype phase, but have already secured two patents and 1.8 million dollars in funding.

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