Augmented Reality RideOn the Slopes, Bro
This week’s Intern Insight is written by Graham Leslie, a Research and Development Intern at JBKnowledge, Inc. since Summer 2014. He is a current undergraduate student at Texas A&M University majoring in Computer Science.
Still very much in its infancy, augmented reality has yet to substantially break into the mainstream. The technology is reserved for the occasional cool-but-not-functional publicity stunt, conceptual commercial applications, and hard-core gamers.
Cue RideOn, a newly conceived application of augmented reality to snow sports. RideOn launched on Indiegogo on January 20th and will close February 19th hoping to secure $75k in crowdfunding to build their vision of contextual augmented reality for skiing and snowboarding. Interestingly enough, the slopes are actually a fairly tech-heavy environment ripe for disruption.
RideOn produces augmented reality-enabled snow goggles. The goggles introduce many features to riding the mountain, like navigation, communication, audio, and heart rate tracking.
Conceptually, RideOn combines many of the myriad of devices currently used on the slopes. I was in Breckenridge last month and took notice to what new technology skiers were frequently using: mobile apps for run-navigation, SMS and Voxer to communicate with other skiers, bluetooth speakers to play music, and GoPros to record the trips.
RideOn includes bluetooth headphones to play music and a heart rate monitor to see fitness. Users can throw a “snowball” at other users to get their attention when they finish their run, and communicate via text, video, or audio messages. Challenges can be activated to create time trials or gates for a run. Of course, run navigation while be included. In the future, the company will provide API access for lift waiting times.
Tel-Aviv-based RideOn is aiming to launch their ski goggles for the 2015 ski season for around $500 US Dollars and it will be exciting to see if they can manage the quick release if they complete their Indiegogo campaign, which they are on track to do at the time of writing.
As (mostly) said by André 3000, “The world doesn’t need another [publicity-stunt augmented reality] company. But it does need a certain funk”. Perhaps that funk will be found on the slopes.