While the idea of a fighter pilot-style heads up display might have seemed impossible just a decade ago, recent products like Google Glass and Garmin’s Varia Vision have given us a glimpse of what cyclists can expect from such a system (believe it or not, we first wrote about the concept back in 2010.) Now an Israeli company called Everysight is teasing a next-generation heads-up display built on real fighter pilot technology and geared toward cyclists and other athletes.
Unlike the small peripheral screens employed by Google Glass and Garmin’s Varia Vision that require the wearer to switch focus, the Everysight Raptor is claimed to project data onto the entire lens, allowing the wearer to look through the images without losing focus. The company’s teaser video (below) makes this all look really seamless, though it’s unclear how well this will all work in practice.
The Raptor also includes a true POV camera to capture video and stills.
Ok, so assuming the Everysight Raptor works as advertised, there are a number of possible applications for mountain biking. First on the list: route finding. The video hints at this, showing an arrow at a junction in the trail where the rider should turn. This would obviously come in handy for backcountry rides but I personally think it would be even more helpful for network-style trail systems where riders are constantly having to make choices about which trail to take. Being able to “just ride” would definitely be a nice enhancement on chopped up trail systems.
Related to route finding, a heads up display could also let riders know what’s coming up on the trail ahead. Want to boost that kicker? The Everysight Raptor could let you know what the landing looks like before you’re on top of it. The display could also indicate upcoming steep climbs so riders can get in the right gear coming out of a turn.
Mountain bike training is another area where a heads-up display could come in handy. Watching realtime metrics like heart rate and speed without losing focus would allow mountain bikers to train smarter and more safely.
Finally, a heads up display like the Everysight Raptor could give riders a leg up in competition through all the ways mentioned above. Having a race course taped virtually would allow riders to focus on their riding instead of looking for course markers. And seeing an avatar of the rider in front of you with a readout of the time gap would certainly ramp up the competition.
Of course not everyone will be stoked to see heads up displays being used on mountain bike trails. For many, the joy of mountain biking comes from leaving digital tech behind, so turning fellow mountain bikers into fighter pilots seems like a situation ripe for conflict. And if Google Glass’s chilly reception is any indication, it may be a while before we see mainstream mountain bikers embrace this sort of technology.
Your turn: What do you think about adding a heads-up display to your MTB kit?
Read more about the Everysight Raptor at GearJunkie.com.