This century has brought with it mind-boggling and otherwise thought of as impossible technological advancements and breakthroughs. What was only found in fiction novels in the last century is now a reality. And more and more is being added to the list of extraordinary gadgets.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology have taken the gaming world by storm. Scientists and researchers are slowly and gradually taking that label away from these two technologies. Which means, AR and VR have started creating ripples in other industries such as sports.
Especially the use of AR has a huge scope in the sports industry. If properly exploited, many avenues can be explored and many benefits can be extracted using this technology. In fact, AR has seen more practical applications so far as compared to the VR technology.
One futuristic company, Elbit Systems, has spent ten years developing AR glasses for cyclists. The company makes heads up displays for fighter jets. It specializes in making drones and other military technology, but its subsidiary, Everysight is in charge of this product aimed at the civilian cycling community.
This company has unexpectedly entered the sports world with its Everysight Raptor smartglasses. It uses a patented display technology known as Beam to unobtrusively show relevant data to cyclists.
The Everysight Raptor allows cyclists to track all of their metrics without taking their eyes off the road. There is a mode that shows speed, distance covered, time spent cycling, cornering angle, heart rate, and calories burned. For steep trails, there is a mode that shows the gradient of a slope, the percent of the trail completed, altitude and heart rate. The map of the trail can be displayed depending on the rider’s needs and choice.
The AR smartglasses Everysight Raptor come with a built-in HD camera that can capture photos or videos. The captured images can include the data if the rider chooses. There is also a community feature for Raptor users, where ride information can be shared and compared. Notifications and text messages can also be configured to pop up on the display. Everything we once imagined and saw in movies is now a reality.
Since they are AR glasses, the display is simply an augmented feature to the cyclist’s already present reality, unlike the VR technology. No opaque elements are present on the screen, so full peripheral vision is maintained even when the data is displayed.
Physically, these smart glasses for cyclist look a lot like the stylish shades that are already prevalent among cycling communities. They come packed with a ton of functionalities. The glasses are not limited to just tracking metrics. The Raptor can provide a map overlay and can even receive notifications, text messages, and calls from your smartphone.
Although these glasses haven’t formally been launched yet, the company speculates huge interest in their product by the cycling community. Elbit Systems is primarily a military technology and equipment manufacturer and 90% of its revenue comes from the sale of military grade equipment and technology. But it has started diversifying its product line and has ventured into the commercial market.
Its primary strategy for retail growth is to adapt its military applications for commercial use. The Everysight Raptor is a manifestation of this strategy.
These AR smartglasses for cyclist have tremendous scope and growth possibilities. The most important advantage of these glasses is improved safety of the user as one does not have to glance at a screen and eyes remain on the road. These glasses will be an asset to cyclists if used in races.
This is not the first company that has tried its hand at smartglasses for sports use. Google already tried and failed at eye-wearables with its doomed Google Glass. Despite that failure, Everysight is confident that its Raptor smartglasses will be successful. The main reason why this speculation might actually turn into reality is because this company has been in the field of vision systems and augmented reality for decades, used for military purposes.
Another reason why the Google Glass failed is because it was too feature laden, stuff people never wanted in their glasses. Everysight Raptor, on the other hand, has been cautious on that front and has only concentrated on making their smartglasses a success among the cycling community.
Some added features are present but those features are not the company’s primary focus. This concentrated focus will prove to be very beneficial for the company and for the success of the Everysight Raptor smartglasses.
Another company, Solos, designed their smartglasses in conjunction with the USA Cycling Team. These smartglasses are designed keeping performance improvement in view, whether for the professional cyclist or the casual user. They look like the usual cycling glasses but with AR technology embedded in them. Their aerodynamic design and light weight make them ideal for professional cyclists especially and all others in general.
These smartglasses work with most phones meaning thereby your messages and notifications can be displayed right in front of your eyes while cycling without needing to use your hands. Solos smartglasses come with an app. It helps to choose what you want to see on your screen, set and display targets or share ride information with other riders through social media. The app can even be used to get direct coaching for amateurs.
Solos like the Everysight Raptor has not been released in the market yet neither have the companies given a release date. Though the Everysight Raptor’s test pilot program participants will receive the smartglasses before their official release in order to test them and receive feedback from professional as well as amateur cyclists.
Whether smartglasses garner the interest these companies are expecting and whether these smartglasses actually work and are a success is yet to be seen. The idea of having AR smartglasses for cycling is, without a doubt, an incredible idea.