The ski season is inching towards its close, but we’ve been using it to test Oakley’s connected ski mask. Here’s a glimpse of the range of possibilities it offers.
In this age of global connectivity, many sports have been quick to exploit the springboard offered by technology and the integration of innovation. And now it’s skiing’s turn to join the wearables revolution with the Oakley Airwave 1.5 mask.
Obviously linked to an app, the ski mask has a screen similar to that of Google Glass, but in this case positioned in the lower part of the user’s field of vision. Visibility is relatively good and the screen appears to be of high quality. Once the mask has been charged and connected to the dedicated app (which is not always that easy), the menus can be browsed using the special bracelet provided.
The Airwave 1.5 mask allows for the direct display of your speed, location, text message notifications and phone calls. However, it doesn’t interact directly with the interface, so the call to action still has to be done on a smartphone. It’s an interesting concept, but the visualisation of the pistes has not yet been optimised and it would not be unreasonable to expect better, especially if you’ve already tried Google Glass.
At the end of the day (the battery easily holds its own over a whole day of skiing), the app displays a report analysing speed, distance covered, altitude differences, and more.
While using the Oakley Airwave 1.5 connected ski mask, it’s hard not to feel a bit disappointed given the experiences currently available on the wearables market. The technology available allows users to be transported to a whole new dimension, a trend confirmed quite remarkably by the announcement of the next connected ski mask, RideOn, which integrates augmented reality.
It would have been nice to experience something a bit more innovative that included all the essential functions for a ski trip. For instance, why not display the time it takes to get from point A to point B on the pistes? Or an interactive map of the pistes, voice commands or even an integrated social dimension?
There’s no doubt that in the next few years, connected ski masks will find a niche of users. Let’s hope the price levels out at the same time to make it more accessible to a wider audience.