When wearables were first introduced to the world, we knew them as wrist-worn devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches. The selection has since evolved to include a wide range of things, some of them truly fascinating. There are smart clothes and tattoos, ear-worn devices like headphones, clips and attachments, prosthetics and much more. It’s not all that surprising when you realize another new type of wearable, like smart cyclist goggles, is entering the market. What is surprising, however, is the claim that it will change the game.
Most wearables are launched and then forgotten, with nary a sputter of popularity. About one in five users aged 18 and older said they had purchased at least one wearable. But that means about three-quarters of those polled have not bought a single wearable device. There’s still a lot of room for market penetration, so yes, a claim that a wearable will change the market for the better is a bold one.
But that’s exactly what’s about to happen, and here’s why.
An Israeli drone maker named Elbit Systems LTD has come up with a unique, yet remarkably useful, device, and it’s their first consumer product in a quarter-century. The glasses are actually developed by Everysight, a subsidiary of Elbit, and are called Raptor.
Elbit’s device is a pair of augmented-reality smart glasses — think Google Glass — except they’re made specifically for cyclists. The smart cyclist goggles include technology originally developed for fighter pilots’ helmets as a sort of heads-up display.
If you’ve ever been on a long bike ride, you know exactly how tough it is to multitask while blazing along the roads at breakneck speeds. While wearing the goggles, cyclists are treated to an overlay that shows the surrounding terrain and maps, real-time performance metrics and even notifications, calls and alerts from a connected smartphone.
In other words, it’s a hands-free system similar to those available in newer-model vehicles, except it’s designed for cyclists.
The smart cyclist goggles will even show the cyclist’s current speed in miles per hour, distance, total time traveled, heart rate and more. The best part is that bikers never have to take their eyes off the road in front of them to get this information.
[Image Source: Solos]
While this is certainly an exciting concept, it doesn’t exactly scream “market shift,” does it? Where did we get the idea that these glasses are going to change the game?
Smart Cyclist Goggles Are the Next Big Wearable
Elbit’s glasses represent a shift in the market toward more unique and, dare we say, more useful wearables. Sure, we’ve seen a variety of wearables in the past few years, but this is the first that is actually going to have a considerable impact on the world at large.
That’s still an incredibly bold claim. Here, let us show you what’s happening.
By 2020, the projected economic impact of virtual and augmented reality technologies is expected to be in excess of $15.6 billion. The total size of the market by 2020 is expected to be somewhere in the vicinity of $143.4 billion.
If you didn’t already know, AR, or augmented reality, is a form of VR — what you know as virtual reality. The two technologies are similar, yet remarkably different. VR is all about immersion and relies on headsets or technology that remove you from the real world and place you in a digital one. On the other hand, AR is all about projecting digital content into the real world.
Google Glass, for example, used a similar heads-up display as Elbit’s glasses to present information to the wearer as an overlay, with the real world as a backdrop. Pokémon Go is one of the most widely known examples of AR. The interactive game encourages users to catch monsters that seem to be in the real world, but are merely projected using a device’s camera.
What does all of this have to do with a market shift, and how are these cyclist glasses going to change the future as we know it?
Google Glass was a great representation of AR technology and worked well enough, but the adoption rates just weren’t there. It wasn’t widely available to everyone, either. Only a select handful of users were allowed to purchase the glasses, let alone test them out.
Elbit’s glasses are the first real example of an AR device that can be used by anyone, anytime, and that has a truly unique, yet extremely useful purpose. In other words, this could be the start of the wearable AR revolution.
Now, imagine how that concept can evolve to make other areas and activities safer and more efficient. Industries that could use similar devices are construction and development, marketing, sales, retail, shipping and packaging. Even the food industry could make use of something like this. Imagine servers with similar glasses that record and display all the information and stats they need to know. A waiter or waitress would never forget your order or neglect to refill your drink again!
How Will the Smart Goggles Help Athletes and Cyclists?
You may be wondering what impact these “smart goggles” will have on the modern athlete. How can they help you train, for instance?
Elbit’s wearables track all your stats during your ride and relay them back to you. At any given time, you know your performance, how well you’re doing compared to previous rides and how much you’re improving — or lagging behind. That’s especially important for competitive riders because part of training for races is knowing just how far you can push your body.
But will the casual biker benefit from smart cyclist goggles, too? What if you’re not an endurance athlete cycling lots of miles? Even if you just bike casually for fun or transportation, these types of glasses will help you be safer and more efficient. Plus, it’s always good to know how far you’ve traveled and how fast you’re going.