Riding a mountain bike can feel like flying a jet sometimes – high speeds, split second decisions, a 3-D range of motion, and adrenaline pumping through your system. For years fighter pilots have relied on heads-up-displays (HUDs) to keep track of important data without taking their eyes off the action – so why not mountain bikers?

Element22 sent me a link to the 4iiii (four eyes) Innovations website where the company claims to be working on just such a solution for cyclists. From the single photo on the site it looks like the device will clip to a pair of sunglasses to deliver all kinds of data – speed, heart rate, cadence, etc. The device also includes an earphone with verbal alerts and cues to help the rider. This part actually sounds like it should be possible using today’s technology – it would be sorta like a virtual team manager talking in your ear while you ride.

Apparently the idea of a heads-up-display has captured the imagination of snowboarders too – element22 also found the video above showing how such a system might work on the slopes. Too bad this video looks more like a movie trailer than an actual product promotion – meaning it will probably be a long time before we see these goggles on the mountain.

I can think of several situations where I could use a mountain bike heads-up-display on the trail. Looking down at the GPS is always a dangerous thing to do so speed, distance, and upcoming turns would be a natural for the HUD. For epic trips at high altitudes, weather can come in fast so real-time weather conditions and forecasts would be super helpful. And imagine if you could get warnings about upcoming trail obstacles – low branches, rock gardens, sharp turns.

Somehow I doubt we’re anywhere close to wearable HUDs for mountain biking but you never know – who could have predicted all the things the iPhone can do just a few years ago?

# Comments

  • dchaney389

    If you read into the 4iiii thing, all it actually does visually is display some colored lights on that boom thing. Kind of disappointing if you ask me.
    Those goggles on the other hand look pretty sweet. Even though they’re aimed at snow sports right now, there’s definitely potential for MTB applications. I don’t see any reason why the technology couldn’t be implemented in a pair of sunglasses rather than goggles.

  • element22

    The problem with glasses getting the same treatment as the goggles is the projected screen in the goggle. You probably would have to increase the light output seeing that the glasses would allow stray light behind the lense making it difficult to see.

    The power supply would have to be placed somewhere as well. On a pair of glasses that may be an issue….Oakley for example has the power and electronics hidden in the rather thick section of the arms.

  • dchaney389

    Well, as cool as it would be, the screen isn’t actually projected on the lens. It uses a tiny lcd screen on the bottom periphery of your vision. A screen like this could easily be incorporated into glasses, especially some of the more dramatic ones (picture Oakley Jawbones). Batteries might be an issue at present but products like this look to the future. It won’t be long before batteries are half the size they are now.
    Also, their website shows that they have plans to expand to sports on dirt (MTB, MX), water (scuba, kite boarding) and air (skydiving). Get excited!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.