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Will we get speed and other data in sight?

The Recon Jet is a brand new heads-up display (HUD) eyewear model aimed specifically at cyclists. It features GPS and on-board sensors to provide ride data, connectivity to third party sensors and smartphones, along with a high-definition camera with a microphone and speaker.

You might remember that we told you about Oakley’s Airwave snowsport goggles last year /content/news/69891-are-oakleys-airwave-goggles-sign-future and asked whether similar technology might be introduced into cycling at some time in the future. Well, Recon provide the technology for those goggles and it turns out that we hold mystical powers because cycling is exactly the direction in which way they’ve been working.

The display sits towards the bottom edge of the glasses. Most of the time you look over the top of it but it’s easy to flick your eyes down to look at the information.

The Jet’s sensors offer you a range of performance data including your speed, pace, distance, time and the vertical ascent of your ride. Plus, through wireless connectivity to third party devices (via ANT+ and Bluetooth), you will be able to see your heart rate, cadence and power figures.

It will also allow you to connect to an iPhone or an Android phone for call display and web connectivity. It’ll display caller ID and text messages and you can even upload and view information from social networks. What Recon call an ‘optical touchpad’ allows you to navigate around – you just swipe your fingers across it like you do with many other computer devices. It works with or without gloves.

Of course, whether or not it’s sensible to use all of these features while you’re actually riding along is another matter entirely, but it’s more the tech that we’re looking at here. We do think that looking at data that’s already in your field of vision has to be better than glancing down at a computer. The popularity of out-front mounts for Garmin devices supports this.

The HD camera is capable of taking still images and video. Recon don’t see it as a substitute for something like a GoPro, but reckon it’s good for grabbing quick shots and short-duration vid.

The Jet runs on a dual core CPU and the whole thing weighs 60g. That’s considerably more than a standard pair of sunglasses but it’s really not that heavy. Recon report that people have been riding in these for several hours at a time without discomfort.

The Jet is currently available for pre-order at a price of $599, which is £386 on today’s exchange rate.

What about Google Glass?

The obvious rival to the Recon Jet is Google Glass, announced earlier this year. The Google Glass Explorer model that Google has been selling to developers costs $1,500 but that’s almost certain to drop dramatically when a consumer edition becomes available.

Google’s sheer marketing reach and general expertise at making search information easily accessible will mean that if there’s a market for wearable computing then Glass will find it. At first look, you’d think that would spell trouble for Recon, but we don’t think it’s that simple.

We all have a fairly smart mobile phone in our pockets after all, but that hasn’t stopped Garmin from selling squillions of Edge GPS devices even though every smart phone has GPS these days.

Generalist devices don’t necessarily rule the world. There’s still a place in the gadget world for doing one thing or set of things extremely well. If Recon nails a bunch of bike-specific features that Glass doesn’t offer, then in a couple of years time we could find ourselves swapping our Glasses for Jets at the start of a ride.

For all the info go to http://jet.reconinstruments.com/
 

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

16 comments

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dave2041 [22 posts] 4 years ago
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I feel like Glass will be better in a lot of ways, namely running android and being a google product.

The big point for me is the Ant+ compatibility. This is something that as far as i'm aware google aren't offering with it's glass. Whether that's really enough to set it apart will remain to be seen... what with the garmin 510 and 810 series linking to phones already (i think!) i can't see it being too difficult to use a phone as a mid layer between the glasses and the Ant+ devices.

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theclaw [73 posts] 4 years ago
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honestly, whatever happened to just going for a ride??  39

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farrell [1946 posts] 4 years ago
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How long before this technology is adapted for time-trialling?

As in having a small camera mounted on the helmet feeding a view of the road ahead into the glasses (or visor perhaps?) allowing the rider to keep their head in a downwards position.

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ded [58 posts] 4 years ago
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Interesting, but coming after this: http://road.cc/content/news/91759-sat-nav-driver-who-killed-cyclist-spar..., has to be used very carefully.

And for me, a bit pointless. What do you need all that info in real-time for? Information overload. The only useful thing might be heartrate (or power?) but since almost every HR monitor I have ever seen can be made to go "beep" when you go outside your target zone why do I need the number obscuring my vision? I'm not a fighter pilot...

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leqin [205 posts] 4 years ago
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Its bad enough having to contend with car drivers using sat navs or phones or ipads, or - as I encountered only last week - some jerk in his BMW driving slowly along with a damned kindle because the book he's reading is far far far more important than whats happening the other side of his windscreen - so now I have to put up with those other idiots on bikes.

Hopefully this will be banned - as quickly as possible.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 4 years ago
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theclaw wrote:

honestly, whatever happened to just going for a ride??  39

Ride? going for a ride? - what is this strange phenomena you speak off...

Completely agree

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crazy-legs [896 posts] 4 years ago
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theclaw wrote:

honestly, whatever happened to just going for a ride??  39

I'm sorry, Sir just wants to "go for a ride"?!

Surely Sir requires the latest aero kit, some specific pre-exercise nutrition, a route to follow on gpx (while live-tracking and tweeting your progress) and some specific post-exercise nutrition?

I fail to see how Sir can ride his bike without at least £3000 of accessories specifically tailored to Sir's every requirement as well as Sir's chosen training plan for that day?

 3

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Gazphillips [7 posts] 4 years ago
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 26

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KiwiMike [1303 posts] 4 years ago
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Now that all the Telegraph readers have vented, let's think this through:

Heartrate is very useful when going quickly, or even not-that-quickly: maintaning 75-80% of Lactic Threashold can mean the difference between a hard yet enjoyable 7-8hr ride and one that ends in a quivering bonked mess on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, having pushed 85-90% too early, too often. Not having to look down all the time would be great. And no, I don't want to set an audible alarm.

Distance/altitude/navigation in general: anyone who frequently rides new places knows how much difference a good route and spot-on nav can make to a day out. Missing a turn-off halfway down a 1,000m descent can really ruin your vibe, if it takes you a few km to realise your error, and have to flog back up the hill. Plus just not having to stop every 5 minutes to orient a map (even a moving one).

Photos: I like to take loads of photos. Around 200 on each day in the Alps last week, which meant a few hundred reaches into the top-tube bag for the camera, slowing each time with one hand on the brakes/bars. And there's one photo I know I'll regret not getting for the rest of my life, of my best friend taking the first left-hand hairpin off the Sustenpass, banked hard over with the Stein glacier in the background. I just was not quick enough. But if could have just shouted 'PHOTO' or pressed my temple or wiggled my nose or whatever, that would have been grand.

Personally I can't wait to remove the need to look down / get a phone or camera out. Handsfree, zero-effort data acquisition. I can see this being a real boon. And just like satnav in a car, you don't *have* to look at it. I imagine it could even be turned off completely, and only activated on demand, or on a timed basis, or when a turn was approaching, or a parameter (HR/power/whatever) was exceeded or met.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 4 years ago
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Is it just me? This looks like it totally blocks out the area of the glasses I look through to see what's behind me. I turn my head to the right, and look through the bottom portion of the lens. That's why I prefer cycling glasses with no frame at the bottom!

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ded [58 posts] 4 years ago
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"KiwiMike" wrote:

Now that all the Telegraph readers have vented, let's think this through:

You'd better not be including me in that - that's a proper insult, that is...

"KiwiMike" wrote:

Heartrate is very useful ... And no, I don't want to set an audible alarm.

Up to you. I would have thought an alarm was less intrusive but that's me. Buy it if you want, I don't care what you do unless you crash into me because you have a great big flashing 90% in red projected onto the inside of your glasses...  40 because all the evidence from car drivers is they "don't look at their satnav", right?

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bobbylama [15 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm holding out for cybernetic implants.

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step-hent [725 posts] 4 years ago
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not sure I really understand the safety concerns. The information is already available, so most people who want to see it already do - but on a computer mounted to the bars/stem, where they have to move their head down and thus reduce their view of traffic/hazards. This allows looking at the information without blocking your view of the traffic - it's overlaid on your field of vision, but it's still see-through and you can still see what's going on. Surely that is safer, no?

If the issue is concentration being affected by the availability of data, then that's a problem with any type of info you look at while riding, regardless of where you look at it. So we should ban cycle computers, as they're unsafe.

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chorltonjon [36 posts] 4 years ago
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Might we never see another episode of Chris Froome 'staring at stems'?  36

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Leviathan [2738 posts] 4 years ago
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That is fugly, let Stephen Fry buy one first. Let me know in 5 years.

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fuzzywuzzy [85 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm looking forward to Google Glass with HUD GPS etc. Is it necessary? Ofc not but 95% of the cycling-related crap we buy isn't necessary. If it enhances your enjoyment and you can afford it then buy it, else don't but don't have sour grapes about those that do. And no it's not a safety issue if you're not a complete muppet.