Are these glasses the future of athletes?


About 10 or 15 years ago, I was visiting Oakley headquarters in Orange County, California. The brand’s future ski goggles were on display in the lobby. By wearing them while skiing, they would show you in the glass of the goggles your speed, angle of descent, outside temperature, altitude, distance in air of your jumps and much more on a heads-up display. Officials at the time told me they were working on prototypes. And I believe they went into the market in 2016, under the name of Oakley Airwave 1.5 snow goggles. They integrate with smartphones, show you text messages, phone calls and more.

I thought about it while testing the Engo Eyewear smart sunglasses ($ 397) powered by ActiveLook technology, over the past two weeks. They look like oversized sunglasses and, similar to Oakleys, show you on a heads-up display on the lens your speed, activity duration and distance. The corresponding app also subsequently shows you a map of exactly where you have been wearing the glasses during your activity, your average speed and your overall distance. You tell him up front what activity you’re about to do – your choices are running, cycling or multisport. I tried it for inline skating, e-scooter, and cycling.

Pairing it with my phone was a snap. If you put on the glasses, its head-up display guides you through the process with the app. You can adjust the positioning of the screen, although on mine it only seemed to project onto the right lens. And although I can’t find it anywhere in the documentation, it can be seen from the product photos that it is. Anyway, through the app you can move the display slightly. And you can also physically adjust the mount and nose to further position the screen where it’s comfortable for you and easy to see.

I found the glasses to be comfortable and extremely light. To turn it on, you basically just need to press your nose. The information it provides – in bright yellow and easy to read by the way – is clearly in real time. So it does exactly what the company says it does. Basically I thought it was like having a bezel-less version of a smartwatch, but with much more limited information. Personally, I have no problem with just a smartwatch on my wrist, if I want to see how fast I’m running or cycling. But I certainly see the safety and convenience of it on a heads-up display. And I think that’s a great idea. I wish it would show me other info from my phone like a smartwatch, as long as it pairs via bluetooth anyway. The Engo battery lasts 12 hours.

As an avid golfer, I have long wondered when a GPS version of smart sunglasses would come out for golfers. I would love to wear it on the course and know how far I hit my shots, what my current stroke total is, how far I have to the pin and what club to hit on my next shot. All of this technology is available now, but I haven’t seen it in the glasses yet. It seems natural for the golf course.

About Marion Alexander

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