Virtual reality on the slopes

RideOn, an Israeli startup from Tel Aviv says they have developed the world's first true augmented reality goggles for the slopes.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (Reuters) - Augmented reality (AR) is hitting the slopes with Israeli startup RideOn whose hi-tech goggles allow skiers to play games, navigate and avoid potential hazards.

Billed by its creators as the world's first true AR headset, the device is a combination of off-the-shelf components, including an android based computer, battery, and HD camera, all incorporated with RideOn's technology software.

CEO of RideOn, Alon Getz, said, "We take the regular sensor that are inside any cellphone and we use our augmented reality technology and computer vision technology, we take low resolution video stream from the camera and we analyze the area and where you're going to, where you're skiing and where you're looking at".

It collects data from the mountain, such as skier's position, the weather or altitude, and summarizes it in a user-friendly display.

It can also post virtual objects and targets along the slope.

When connected to a phone, the device also acts as a social hub.

Mr Getz said, "You want to know where your friends are, so we have a 'friends radar'. This 'friends radar', you just look at it and you see your friends. Here's Micha and here's Rachel, you can call them, you can send preset text messages."

The interface is controlled with a simple move with the eye or head, and is designed to minimize danger.

"When you start skiing, most of the display will disappear, only where you get to an intersection of piece, you will see number eight to the right, number five to the left," added Mr Getz.

The technology could ultimately be embedded in other types of eyewear for various outdoor sports.

Currently RideOn is riding high with tech enthusiasts, raising over US$100,000 on a crowd funding web site. The wearable tech device will cost buyers US$630 (S$843) for pre-orders.