Monday, November 14, 2011

#MEMS: "Heads-Up Goggles Smarten Skiing"

Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) chips enable skiers, snowboarders and other alpine enthusiasts to quantify their boasts with smart goggles that track and record feats of prowess.

By continuously tracking position, velocity--both vertical descent and horizontal speed--and a dozen other parameters, smart goggle-mounted heads-up displays (HUDs) allow alpine enthusiasts to come clean about their skiing and snowboarding runs with quantifiable metrics that can be compared with the best performances of world-famous skiers and snowboarders.
"Unlike fish stories which depend on your memories of events, skiers and snowboarders can now upload quantifiable proof of their best runs, and compare them with other great runs recorded on our Website," said Dan Eisenhardt, CEO of Recon Instruments, at the MEMS Executive Congress (Nov. 2-3, 2011, Monterey, Calif.).

Heads-up displays inside standard ski goggles display a variety of tactical dashboards derived from on-board MEMS and GPS sensors plus analytics run on wirelessly connected smartphones. (Source: Recon Instruments)
Recon Instruments micro-optic displays (MODs) mount inside your ski goggles to provide real-time readouts of your speed, latitude, longitude, altitude, vertical distance traveled, total distance traveled, temperature, time and jump analytics, as well as providing chrono/stopwatch modes and a run counter. The HUD can also communicate wirelessly (using Bluetooth) with a wristwatch-like remote control as well as with smartphones. Android applications provide live connectivity for navigation maps, points-of-interest, caller ID, text messaging, MP3 playlists and buddy tracking. And the HUD can also serve as a viewfinder for wearable video cameras.
With the system, jump analytics like air-time, along with a dozen other metrics like maximum downhill speed, are recorded and viewed on a heads-up display mounted inside standard ski goggles by sensor-studded wireless electronics combining microelectromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers and GPS micro-chips.
Skiers and snowboarders upload data from their smart goggles by plugging a USB cable into their computers, which transfers data from up to eight-hours of alpine adventures, then performs complex motion-processing analytics on the day's runs, which can then be compared with the runs of other skiers and snowboarders at that location.
The small, full-color HUD is located in the bottom right corner of the skier's or snowboarder's goggles so that it does not obstruct the user's view, and the device is managed by a remote control that can worn like a watch, but on the outside of a parka. Large buttons on the watch-like remote control can be operated without taking off winter gloves. Recon-ready goggles are available from Uvex, Alpina and Briko.
Online communities at the Recon Instruments Website allow users to recount memorable runs and share them with other users, as well as to enjoy the runs of others. There, thousands of memorable experiences can be relived and be statistically compared with a user's own best runs.
Further Reading