The smart glasses category had a further boost last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where Intel and Oakley confirmed plans to ship Oakley Radar Pace sunglasses later this year.
Modelled at CES by former IRONMAN World Champion, Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander, the new Oakley Radar Pace offering is voice-activated and appears slightly more minimalist than other smart sunglasses that have recently hit the market. The smart eyewear category has certainly seen a flurry of activity – with brands such as Recon Jet, Solos by Kopin, Everysight and most recently Garmin entering the fray with Varia Vision.
Recon Jet, which was one of the first brands to enter the space, is itself owned by Intel – and it will be interesting to see how the Recon Jet brand evolves now that Intel is offering up its technology to a key eyewear brand such as Oakley.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told attendees at CES that the Oakley Radar Pace sunglasses will be available in late 2016; but there were no details on pricing or distribution strategy.
The voice-activated Radar Pace technology allows wearers to perform tasks by talking to the device. How this will work in noisier environments, such as cycling in urban areas remains to be seen. Although, Intel argues that Radar Pace is simpler to use than Google Glass, which requires users to swipe the side of the headset to perform certain functions.
At the Intel presentation in Las Vegas, Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander said “Technology has dramatically changed how athletes train. We can get data on just about anything. The challenge with data is that it requires interpretation to mean anything.”
He continued, “As an athlete, I need to know what the data means, and how to respond to it in the moment. This is why most athletes have a coach.” Joined by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Oakley Radar Path smart glasses were billed as ‘like having a coach right there with you.’
The demo of Radar Pace then saw Crowie ask the smart glasses, “OK, Radar, what’s my workout plan today?” The interaction with the glasses saw him talk through effort levels and analysis of power in order to showcase the features of Radar Pace that athletes can expect to see later this year.