Are Oakley's Airwave goggles a sign of the future?

Oakley's latest integrates a digital heads-up display showing live GPS data

by David Arthur   November 2, 2012  

oakley airwave goggles

Oakley's latest product, a pair of goggles designed for skiing and snowboarding, isn't immediately of interest to us road cyclists, but the technology packed inside them is a tasty glimpse of the future.

The Airwave goggles feature a heads-up display and integrated GPS  that can display a plethora of data. Temperature, speed, playlists, maps... all can be shown on a display that is said to be the equivalent of looking at a 14in monitor from a distance of five feet.

A wristwatch controller or an iOS/Android smartphone can be used to operate the technology and features inside the Airwave googles. They're on sale now and cost a cool £371.

Now we're not expecting you to rush out and buy a pair, but have a think about how such technology could be used in a pair of cycling glasses. A heads-up display showing your current best Strava time, your average speed, distance to the next cake shop... all without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

This isn't the first time we've seen a company attempt to incorporate a digital heads-up display in a pair of glasses, but with Oakley now clearly interested in the technology and its application, we're probably a step closer to it becoming accessible.

Here's a video from Oakley showing the new goggles:

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Smart technology for skiing, for sure, but largely because when you're skiing you don't have a handy and relatively static point to fix a display, so heads-up works well. On a bike, of course, you've got your stem to stick a monitor on...

posted by Veloiste [3 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 11:09

1 Like

The possibilities for idiocy that this technology unlocks are absolutely limitless.

posted by BigDummy [298 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 11:49

2 Likes

A pedant writes: That's not a head-up display. A HUD is a transparent display that's right in your eyeline so it appears to be overlaid on the real world. This is just a small screen in the corner of your goggles -- you still have to look away from where you're going to read it.

In fairness to Oakley, they don't appear to call it an HUD Smile

posted by David Portland [89 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 12:31

2 Likes

Oakley call it 'heads up display technology'. Mind you, they also say the nose pads on their glasses are made from 'Unobtainium', they call their frame material 'O Matter', and their 'Hi-Strength Metal Injection Molded (MIM) Stainless Steel Switchlock mechanism' is actually... a catch.

They have a creative marketing department.

posted by Mat Brett [1931 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 12:48

1 Like

Very smart, good for skiing, but to adapt it to cycling, I don't get it, we already have high quality GPS which give us most things we need Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9016 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 12:50

1 Like

No, I want a proper Heads-Up Display NOW dagnammit!

I don't have a GPS because (apart from the cost) something like the Garmin 800 is a bit too bulky for me in order to provide a usable screen size. In contrast, something that painted a virtual blue line on the road in front of me avoids the screen size issue. Ditto with speed, HR data etc, a virtual 'you' that shows your PB performance on the road, or a virtual someone else that provides a riding buddy for a workout, a bit like sufferfest videos. Quite where all this should sit in the field of vision though is anybody's guess. Which would you like to obscure - potholes, overtaking traffic or traffic emerging from side roads?!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3427 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 16:05

2 Likes

I was playing with this type of technology about 15 years ago - hardly earth-shattering.

With it being from the big-O, in the interests of their 'sponsored' athletes, does the cycle version display provide an Blood Hct too? Devil

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [377 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 16:49

1 Like

Sign of the future? No, just a sign of the times, where people will buy any silly crap as long as it's expensive and they don't need it.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 18:29

1 Like

It took them way too long to cop to the Pharmstrong thing. Never will buy a thing of theirs.

posted by MxQueen [5 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 9:14

1 Like

Oakley synonymous with LA and a cornflakes packet. Cool

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 9:37

2 Likes

David Portland wrote:
A pedant writes: That's not a head-up display. A HUD is a transparent display that's right in your eyeline so it appears to be overlaid on the real world. This is just a small screen in the corner of your goggles -- you still have to look away from where you're going to read it.

another pedant responds: it is a HUD because it uses lenses to effectively project the image into your field of view, a bit like the o-synce running visor. hence the 14in monitor at five feet bit.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7474 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 13:50

1 Like

Zeal's Transcend GPX goggles did this a couple of years ago:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/01/recon-zeal-transcend-goggles-now-ship...

posted by Batfink [18 posts]
4th November 2012 - 13:43

2 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Sign of the future? No, just a sign of the times, where people will buy any silly crap as long as it's expensive and they don't need it.

Oh so true Smile ... I once saw a handsfree bluetooth headset
that had a caller-id display !!!!!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [748 posts]
5th November 2012 - 9:46

1 Like

This is all so far from the breeze-in-my-hair, sun-on-my-face experience I love about cycling.

If they put all this stuff into cars (and they're trying to), we'd all be jumping up and down complaining about driver distraction.

posted by arowland [96 posts]
6th November 2012 - 14:35

1 Like