Gadgets

Control RideOn ski goggles with your eyes

A new startup promises the world's first true augmented-reality ski goggles for skiers and snowboarders that you can control with your eyes.

The battle over technology for your face goes on as more companies dream up face-worn wearables aimed at enhancing your ocular experience. One of the more interesting examples is connected ski goggles, and a new Israel-based startup called RideOn has announced what it calls the world's first true augmented-reality goggles for the slopes.

Unlike products like the Oakley Airwave, Zeal Optics Z3 and others, which put a HUD in one section of your vision like Google Glass, the RideOn Goggles have a true AR experience that places the device's see-through UI in the center of your field of view so you can interact with the goggles without losing visibility. The RideOn Goggles UI puts things in your line of sight in such a way that it looks like the UI elements are about 15 feet in front of you, making it easier to interact with the UI while still being aware of oncoming dangers.

RideOn Goggles wearers can do things like send brief, canned messages to their partners, navigate their way through through the slopes and view information like speed, altitude and the weather, and the company plans to add in additional features such as wait times for ski lifts. Some of the features such as messaging require a Bluetooth connection to your phone, but the company asserts that most of RideOn's features were built from the ground up to work independently of a phone connection.

Since we live in a world where everything needs to be a game now, RideOn's AR tech also includes some basic games that can project rings onto the display that you must navigate through to collect points. Because points, and achievements! And, of course, the device has a high-definition camera onboard so you can record your ride as you head down the mountain, and share it with friends and family on social media.

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Yep, you can even project a game onto your RideOn screen in case actually skiing just isn't fun enough. RideOn

Oh, and did I mention that the interface is hands-free and controlled with your eyes? Welcome to the future! Let's hope the company has figured out how to make eye-control as seamless as it looks in the promo videos, lest RideOn users be out there flipping their heads every which way trying to get the goggles to work properly.

The company has shared some very limited videos of the goggles in action, and the initial videos suggest RideOn is fairly functional and works as advertised. That said, we tend to advise caution when recommending crowdfunded products as such products are somewhat prone to product delays or, worse, products never being released at all.

If you're willing to accept a little risk for the promise of something that could be awesome, you can preorder a RideOn from the company's Indiegogo campaign for as little as $499 (estimated final retail is $899), and backers are supposed to receive their RideOn Goggles around September. If you just have to have the RideOn Goggles for this winter season, you can pony up $2,000 for one of the five prototypes that will be delivered to you in March.

And while the RideOn Goggles likely won't make you a better skier, they can at least help you have a little more fun on the slopes. Me? I'll be that dork in jeans and a ski jacket fumbling down the bunny hill, as I was never really all that good at skiing.