We’ve seen Google's Android OS crammed into a variety of interesting form factors, but Recon’s MOD Live is certainly one of the most unique. The Vancouver based company is touting the “world’s first GPS micro optics display for alpine goggles"—essentially a tiny peripheral display for tech-savvy snowboarders and skiiers. Of course, we can't imagine many people have been competing for the title of best Android face-tech, but we'll concede the honour nonetheless.
The real question: will Android have your back while racing down those black diamond slopes?
The MOD Live device consists of a tiny, 428X240 pixel magnified microdisplay. We were able to wear one Recon's MOD-equipped goggles on the show floor, and the effect is certainly interesting. It's nowhere near as effective as a heads-up-display—you still have to look down consciously to see the screen—but the hardware is hidden in such a way that it's not obtrusive either.
Recon says the device is running an indeterminate version of the Android OS, with the company's Recon HQ Mobile software on-top. It's been customized in such a way that only important, glance-able information is displayed on-screen, such as navigational markers, distance travelled, and current speed.
The latter is made possible thanks to a variety of sensors built into the device—including a tri-axial gyroscope and accelerometer. But they're capable of tracking more advanced data too. The hardware has the ability to track altitude and vertical distance travelled, which also makes it possible to provide comprehensive jump analytics (cross-country skiiers need not apply). There's also traditional GPS tracking too, which could be used to pinpoint chairlift locations, for example, or nearby chalets. A forthcoming SDK, which should launch in May, will allow developers to access the MOD Live's myriad of sensors to create their own apps too.
Recon says the battery should last for up to six hours, which is more than enough to make it back to the chalet for a charge. At $400, it's a bit on the steep side—no pun intended—for what is otherwise a very niche product, but we're not ones to judge; riding fresh powder with an open source OS might just be your thing.