Zeal Optics in partnership with Recon Instruments will be launching a very cool new gadget: GPS enabled USB goggles. Zeal also just announced an uber handy solar backpack for gadget geeks.
In my opinion we’re a little behind in the world of data-enabled goggles. A decade ago, I’d thought web-goggles would be readily available and worn casually by the masses. Sadly this isn’t the case yet, however Zeal & Recon are breaking some new ground with the launch of the Recon-Zeal Transcend alpine goggles available on Oct 10th.
So imagine you’re weaving down a mountain on some fresh snow…
With a pair of Transcend googles and the head-mounted display system, you begin to get real-time feedback to track your speed, latitude and longitude, location, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance, temperature and time all while saving your course/path. And after your long day on the slopes, the goggles can be plugged into your computer via USB to analyze stats and view your trail overlaid on Google maps. Pretty excellent, right?
The goggles work with Mac and PC and include a micro-USB changer with both European and American adaptors powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Although the goggles receive data they don’t output information until the user plugs them in. So in case you were wondering, no, there’s not a safety feature to track skiers/output real-time data.
One of the only things that would make these better would be a built-in cam, something I’m sure they’ll include in the future. Of course, including a cam would have probably dramatically increased the price above $500. Starting in October, consumers will be able to grab a pair for $399 / $499 depending on the model. This is likely the world’s first pair of goggles ever to boast these specs and I think they scream James Bond — very nice. I don’t personally ski, but I want to now.
Today, Zeal Optics also posted the specs of their new solar-powered mobile-gadget-charging backpack to accompany their cutting-edge goggles. It’s called The Reliant and I’m thinking every outdoor-sy geek will want one for their next trek.
The backpack has a solar power panel which is removable and uses a lithium polymer battery with mini USB for charging the self contained battery. Mobile gadgets can be directly plugged in by USB and the pack reacts with both indoor and outdoor light. The Reliant solar pack is being merchandised with the new Transcend goggles on their site but it will cost you an extra $199.
Back in August, I was invited to test the Recon-Zeal Transcend alpine goggles in Oregon at the Recon Instruments Annual Test-Fest. I’m now kicking myself for not attending because this stuff is truly exciting.
What do you think? Would you buy the goggles or the solar pack?