When you're bundled up in your mountain wear and strapped into your downhill gear, the last thing you want to do is take off your gloves and fumble with electronics. Bringing high-tech to high places, Recon Instruments' goggles bring all that digital info you need, from temperature to altitude to where the hell all your ski buddies are, directly to the inside of your goggle lens.
The head-up display technology fits directly into the goggle frame, along with GPS tech and other sensors that put navigation, communication and performance-based information right before your eyes. When they launch in 2010, the Alpine Goggle will allow users to call up trail maps -- complete with the real-time locations of other skiers in your party -- your speed, the altitude, the temperature, and even how much vertical you got off that last 360 toe-grab off the funbox. The GPS can even guide rescue crews directly to you, should you require assistance after that last 360 toe-grab off the funbox.There's one thing Recon Instruments can't let you see yet: a working model. But while we haven't seen a prototype, we have to admit the idea is not only intriguing but completely feasible, though the finished product might come in a bit too expensive for the average weekend warrior's budget. We're even more excited by the possibilities of something like the Alpine Goggle mashed up with augmented reality; floating icons that point to your buddies' real-time locations even when they're far down the mountain, and trail markers that appear in your field of vision, pointing the way long before you hit that fork in the trail.
The company promises that a couple of models will become available next fall, starting at around $350.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.