Eyewear Captures Spotlight at Wearable Technologies Show


Recon Instruments, a Canadian company that make Heads-up Displays for action sports, was named WT Innovator of the Year at the Wearable Technologies Conference. The conference was held Feb. 3 to 6 in Munich in conjunction with the ISPO, the biggest international multi-segment trade show for sports and health industry.

Recon's HUDs, which incorporate a micro-computer, are used in ski goggles made by Oakley, Smith Optics, Scott, Uvex, Zeal Optics, Alpina and Briko. Users can see unobtrusive real-time performance information (including speed, jump airtime and altitude) navigation, buddy tracking, and smartphone connectivity, transmitting SMS, caller ID and music playlists, instantly direct-to-eye via a micro LCD screen mounted inside the goggles frame.

Recon was chosen as the winner of the Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup by a jury of international technology experts. The jury evaluated cutting-edge products from over 300 participants from all over the world in three categories: Sports & Fitness, Healthcare & Wellness, Security & Prevention and Gaming & Lifestyle. The winners will receive marketing support through the sponsors and partners and Recon, the overall winner, was awarded $5,000 in prize money.

Another Canadian company, 4iiii Innovations, showcased its Sportiiiis, a Heads-Up Monitor that delivers performance metrics to the wearer’s peripheral vision during training and racing without taking their eyes off the road.

An American company specializing in heads-up displays, Vuzix, also attracted attention at the WT Show with its new MT 100 Smart Glass, which it calls "the world's first enhanced 'hands free' display and communications system for on-the-go data access from your Smartphone and the Internet."

Christian Stammel, CEO of Wearable Technologies Service GmbH, which organizes the WT Show, told Eye2 that eyewear is an increasingly important product category within the wearable technologies field.

"Augmentation of the human senses is an important application area for wearable technologies," remarked Stammel. "Vision is one of the most important senses of humankind, so it makes sense that many of the most fascinating products come from the eyewear industry, just like Recon Instruments or Vuzix. It will be interesting to see this category develop when we take a look at projects like Google Glass."

In other wearable computer news, ISPO awarded Zeal Optics Ski Goggle of the Year and Design Excellence with a Sustainable Focus for 2013 at its annual trade show, held in Munich the first week in January. The Zeal HD Camera Goggle and the Zeal Brewer sunglass were awarded the highest honor at the show for their unique and sustainable designs.

The HD Camera Goggle has been upgraded to include the ability to shoot 12 MP photos, 120 frames per second at 1080HD, a temperature gauge and an updated graphic user interface.

Recon's Snow HUD with User Interface.

Smith Optics' I/O Recon goggles.