One of the latest headlines that have truly intrigued us is the fact that Garmin’s Varia Vision brings augmented reality to cycling. The device comes as an attachable accessory for cycling goggles and promises to improve the quality of life for those of us who prefer the 2-wheeled alternative to cars.
Garmin is already an achieved and well-known manufacturer of professional fitness trackers and devices that are meant as an aid for athletes, but not only. The Varia Vision is therefore able to be integrated with your other trackers, as well as your smartphone to grant you a better coverage of the information that is capable of displaying.
By employing augmented reality technology principles, through a small in-sight display that will be applied to either lens of your goggles, the Varia Vision can do a whole lot more than one would think. It is able to track your cycling performance statistics such as distance, time or speed, especially when coupled with other compatible fitness tracking devices – such as the Garmin Fenix watch, the Edge line of performance monitors or the Varia Rearview Radar.
But more than that, the Varia Vision is perfectly capable of providing you with navigational directions based on the GPS signal of your paired device. It can push notifications to the display when you have a new text or call incoming and when paired with the Varia Rearview Radar, you will gain a much better control of your position on the road as you’ll be immediately prompted of other vehicles in your vicinity.
While the device weighs only 30 grams and promises to be perfectly non-invasive by only covering a very small portion of your vision, it’s difficult not to look at the Varia Vision and reminisce on the events that took place regarding Google Glass. What everyone believed was going to be the next big step towards the sci-fi future the 70s and 80s foresaw for us turned out to be an overpriced piece of technology that not many found a use for.
But the most worrying aspect of it was the fact that the Google Glass wasn’t considered as safe as advertised to be and even ended up being banned in a number of states under the claim that it was endangering individuals who used it in traffic. Considering the Garmin Varia Vision relies on a touch-sensitive strip on its side as its basic means of controlling the device, that immediately starts sounding even more worrisome, especially for someone whose safety ultimately relies on keeping your hands on the handlebars and your eyes on the road.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; the Varia Vision is not as expensive as the Google Glass – being listed at a price of $399.99 – nor does it feature the same distracting features that one would normally point their finger at, such as social media apps. It merely comes as an aid to cyclists in a world where traffic perpetually haunts urban areas and cycling is not the safest of ordeals.
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