Skiing or snowboarding is better than any console game I know of. If the thrill of taking down an enemy in Call of Duty ranks as a five out of ten, feeling the rush of icy air as you swoop down a twisting ravine must equate to a nine-and-a-half. One team of designers wants to take that up to ten by adding a layer of augmented reality to the slopes. Recently launched into IndieGoGo fundraising, RideOn goggles provide impressive new ways of enjoying your ride.
Unlike some other forms of augmented reality on the market — such as Microsoft’s recently announced HoloLens — the RideOns are capable of sensing which way is up. This is key for a ski-focused headset, where the angle of the wearer’s head is always relative to the dramatically sloping surface beneath their feet.
When combined with 1.2GHz of ARM cortex processing power, this ability is put to good use. In gaming mode, the goggles can erect digital slalom gates on the piste, and you can race against your best time. Likewise, navigation is aided by GPS-style directions and run information projected onto the snow, while future updates will add waiting times onto gates. You can even see livetime graphics showing where your RideOn-wearing buddies are situated on the hill, and current conditions are permanently on display in your peripheral vision.
The RideOns are able to retrieve this data via 3G by connecting to your phone, which also means you can communicate without taking off your gloves. For instance, preset mountain-related texts (“Meet me here” or “Watch this”) can be sent just by looking at them. However, many of the features, such as the full HD built-in camera, are not reliant on a data connection.
Backers of the project can pledge $499 to get their hands on one of the first units, with delivery scheduled for September. With three weeks left, the campaign still has a little way to go to reach the requested $75,000. But given the success of other recent high-ski-tech, I can’t see this one failing.