These smart specs are like Google Glass for sailors

The Afterguard Recon is the world’s first heads-up display to be designed specifically for sailors, and built into a pair of robust sunglasses. It’s like a more niche, nautical version of Google Glass. What’s cool is how it demonstrates the versatility of wearable technology and applies it to a sport where having crucial data in front of you at all times is important, while still leaving your hands free to do other things. Like not falling into the watery abyss below.

Interestingly, instead of connecting to a smartphone, the Afterguard connects to a special box fitted alongside your boat’s instruments. This sends information taken from the control panel directly to the Recon, using Wi-Fi, and keeps it updated in real time. Because it’s designed for boats with a crew of one of more, the display can be customized to show data relevant only to certain crew members. Afterguard recommends the Recon for competitive yachting, and says the built-in sensors help with plotting courses and navigating around competitors.

Unlike Google Glass, where the sensor is mounted above your line of sight, the Recon has it below the eye, making sure it doesn’t get in the way. The image is equivalent to a 30-inch screen viewed from 7-feet away, and has a 240 x 400 pixel resolution. It’s not for playing games, remember, but for displaying numbers and basic graphics. It’s powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, and has 8GB of internal memory.

Given where it’s going to spend most of its time, it’s a good thing the Recon glasses have been given an IP65 water resistant rating, and can withstand splashes from any direction. Soft-touch rubber on the nose bridge and arms keep it securely attached to your face, while the touch sensor can be operating while wearing gloves. The array of onboard sensors includes a gyroscope and magnetometer, a barometer, and an ambient temperature sensor. 

Other interesting features include a removable battery pack, so you can extend the fairly ordinary four-to-six hour usage time. In the future, Afterguard will push software updates to the Recon to take advantage of the built-in HD camera and audio capabilities, plus it confirmed that there is a Bluetooth radio. This could mean it’ll connect to a smartphone or tablet in the future.

The Recon may be niche, but it’s another interesting addition to the growing line of smart glasses designed with one purpose in mind. It doesn’t come cheap — but neither does a yacht — and you’ll need $1,900 to pre-order one, but this does include the glasses and the control box for your boat. Deliveries are expected to take place towards the end of this year.


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