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Smart sunglasses with lenses displaying real-time data for cyclers (road.cc)
51 points by kyleShropshire on Nov 5, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 104 comments


Would have thought that "how it works" would explain the optics part as obviously just having a screen 1cm from your eye would not work.

However without this explanation it looks like a kickstarter scam...

Looks interesting, but the modal for 10% off if you give them all your contact data can only be dismissed by clicking the "NO THANKS, I'D RATHER PAY FULL PRICE" link. Does this passive-aggressive dark pattern actually work? For me, it just always leaves a bad taste and impacts my trust in whatever company does this.

No technical information whatsoever plus passive aggressive modals for 10% off. It just doesn't smell good.

Ice noticed this dark pattern is _everywhere_.

I'm not sure if it does work, however. But I'd be inclined to say it might.

Heads up optical displays have been a well understood technology for decades now. Do we really need another explanation of how they work?

for planes and cars, yeah. But they have the luxury of space, power, distance and weight. its a projector + angled lump of glass, job done.

HUDs on glasses however are an active field of development. as noted before, you can't just shove a transparent display in the way and expect it to be readable.

You need optics so that the text/detail is focus-able.

You need a light source that is ultra efficient, so its bright enough for day light

you need some sort of control mechanism for that light source so it can be formed into pixels.

The OP proposed that the lack technical details tend to indicate a scam; the reply mentioned that relevant technology is old and this post notices that research is ongoing as problems are definite.

Just to be sure: you are aware that commercial products for Augmented Reality at consumer level are already available, right? I do not know many, but the Epson Moverio, obtained years ago, are as mature as I could ever want. With maybe a slightly taller display (not requried, just preferable and achievable) and a more discreet eyeset, perfection.

https://tech.moverio.epson.com/en/bt-30c/ If I look at Moverio's website, technical data I can instantly see a few differences from ENGO - Epson provides all kinds of data, I can see prisms in product photos. I can get an idea about actual technical implementation so I have no doubt this is a real thing (also it is Epson) etc etc. I can see numerous youtube videos about the product working and etc.

ENGO is just a marketing website. Doesn't show anything like a working product. It is all photoshop and renders. No idea about anything technical. Modal windows popping up. Shopify site where I am buying don't know what. Testimonials from half a year ago. Nothing of user reviews on youtube?

I bet you it is a scam. Cmon guys. It is a scam.

> Augmented Reality at consumer level are already available, right?

yes, but not on battery power. As someone who is actively working in the field, there are about 5 unsolved problems before practical AR is a thing. (they are: location, display, object detection, audio understanding and power management.)

but this really isn't AR in the sense that a lay person would recognise.

Yes, if with AR you mean "a system that recognizes the details of the environment and mixes relevant information in the visual field".

With «commercial products for Augmented Reality» I meant "systems that mix information to the environment in the visual field" - so, 'Augmented Reality Eyeset' (shortening as we were talking about optical displays).


Aside note: in actual AR, what is the issue you mentioned with «power management»?

> in actual AR, what is the issue you mentioned with «power management»?

if you take that headset linked in the level up, it has a power draw of 4.5 watts.

A practical AR headset, (ie one that you'd consider wearing in public, with normal people) has enough space for a battery with about 1.1 watt hours of power. In 5 years time that might be 2.4 watt hours(perhaps).

That headset will have about 30 minutes of light up time. Thats before we do graphics, sensors and all that jazz. So its basically not at all practical as anything other than a slight diversion.

So in order to get a practical headset style AR wearble system, you need a "puck" (I think thats magic leap's term for the CPU/GPU) to do all the heavy lifting, with a fair wedge of extra power. Now, that only solves one issue, CPU and or internet connectivity. You still need headset sensors.

This means multiple cameras for detecting position, and possibly another set for visual stuff (to allow projection mapping and object detection.) All of those cameras have either got to be low power enough and self contained (ie <=10mw and produce relative movement [or actual global pose] rather than picture data), or you've got to have a super low power way of connecting them to the "puck"

basically practical AR will require self contained cameras that can produce scene description(ie chair at position x,y,z) and cameras that produce absolute position (SLAM, but with a prebuilt map) all for a power budget of ~30mw or less.

I am very comfortable with the eyeset cable connected to the central unit in my pocket, battery equipped.

(And I instead feel very uncomfortable with the idea of a central unit near the skull... Have you considered that many could "feel" the same, and that it should be preferable to delegate much to a separate cabled unit also for market reasons?)

The question is appropriate. Does it use a proprietary closed-source protocol? Wouldn't be a bluetooth-Profile for Displays much better? How about a embedded-Display-Port? We've seen how well open protocals scale looking at true-wireless-headphones and how bad it is closed stuff, like AirPlay and Chromecast.

The ANT+ Extended Display profile would be a good fit here. I don't know whether this product supports it.


Thanks! And even more interesting, there is Varia Vision: https://www.garmin.com/de-DE/p/530536

How I could missed that. It not a glass but an clip to add.

> a well understood technology ... Do we really need

A /set/ of technologies, and for each implementation you want the details. I use Si-OLED with automated transparency set on #000 black.

There are plenty of products on the market that managed to integrate a HUD into a pair of glasses, not least of which being Google Glass.

Google Glass required quite considerable optical system with prisms and etc:


Only image I can find on the website that seems to demonstrate anything is maybe this one


So does it project image on the glass? Maybe projects image directly on retina? How does it work? What is the resolution etc? Why not answer these more technical questions in some article further on the website?

Google Glass was pretty akward, and was not shown on the lens. You had to look up and to the side to see the display.

All the depictions of the screen are just photoshopped mockups. The HUD is perfectly opaque. If this was really how it looks, it'd be an extraordinary feat of engineering. If it's just AMOLED in the glass or a projection onto the glasses, it could only add light.

No technical information whatsoever, testimonials written half a year ago (https://us.engoeyewear.com/pages/testimonials). However nobody reviewing them on Youtube? Can we just agree that it is a scam?

No way it's a scam, Pam from Columbus said she can finally relax with these glasses! /s

Anyway, these look good but I doubt they're as good as the Google prototype scopes with built-in LCD, LED, 1080p, 3D, Sony technology built into every single lens that DrDisrespect has been using.

If it works like presented on those mockups it is useless.

And since we only see mockups I'm sure it doesn't work at all and is a scam.

I've tried to make a DIY hud for bicycle riding and it failed on two steps:

- you need enough brightness for it to be visible in full daylight, so the image was be tinny or the blue oled I've tried to use weren't bright enough

- my prototype worked well with a straight piece of glass and a plastic sheet Fresnel lens, but it wasn't good for actual use. For actual use you need to project out-of-focus image on a curved surface of bike glasses. I have no idea how to make it small, precise enough and cheap enough.

There are also miniature DLP projectors from TI, that I think would work but they were pretty expensive for a hobbyist to use.

Adding to sibling (with reference to the difficulty of producing good AR eyesets), the Epson Moverio do work very well. For the purpose of a HUD dashboard quick info - a few big characters (as opposed to, say, pages dense of text) - visibility against environmental light should almost always be given even without darkening "sunglasses" shades (you use the sequence "eyes, displays, shades" when you want to enhance the visibility of the display). So, confirmedly, in case of doubt, the technology is there already.

I don't know whether this particular product is a scam, but the Everysight Raptor is similar and it definitely works. Just because you couldn't figure it out doesn't mean it's impossible.

There are also ski helmets with similar technology.


Mind you, you will get laughed off the slope with that on, but...

Is anyone else missing actual descriptions of the hardware and public API-Specifications?

I'm expecting something like this as AR-Sunglass for some time - from Garmin. I looking forward that AR will improve a lot of areas and make entire new things possible. Contrary to VR, which I'm about rather skeptically if it will leave a special niche use cases.

Returning back to the APIs. If we see here the industry applying again the idea of a locked-down system we will miss many use-cases and at the end one or two very big companies will eventually dominate. I'm expecting AR-Glass to behave like Bluetooh or Wireless-Display-Port - than we will see massive gains.

You can use the Epson Moverio series (though they are very much not "discreet").

No issue with the API: it is just Android. You can develop products for them without any difficulty. Black is transparent - that's it. What you will add in the software is, to make sure that you make good use of the dpad embedded in the controller unit.

Thank you! Looks like a promising first step despite it is rather expensive.

> first step

Aesthetically there is probably more work to be done; technically, they are very, very, very, very well done. As I commented in another post here, I only may wish for a slightly taller display (and maybe more battery - they last 5 hours). And as I commented in another post here, I found them to be lifechangers: reading while moving around is very pleasing and efficient.

Why the downvote? Does someone don't like open APIs?

Reminds me of similar solutions for swimming: https://www.vuzix.com/products/smart-swim and https://www.formswim.com/

Nice advertorial. ;) I’m intrigued by their focus on cyclists (although I guess few groups have as much interest in spending disposable income on displaying their devotion to their sport) when, if these are all they’re made out to be, they’d be a pretty cool phone HUD for pretty much anything.

Cyclists are obsessed with real-time data - how fast am I going, what is my power output right now, which heart rate and power zones am I in at the moment,.etc etc. All this is normally displayed on a cycling computer, but if you have a HUD, even better..especially as most already wear sunglasses of some kind to avoid getting insects and other things in the eyes.

I've seen swimming googles with the same idea around (virtually in adverts, not in real life)


Perhaps their tech is limited to displaying, say, 5 characters?

No good for AR video gaming, or reading instant messaging.

But for sport applications, it's enough to show the user the time, or their speed, or their wattage, or their heartrate.

this type of Cyclist really loves gadgets and will pay >$500 for sensors to measure how much power they are producing.

They also are well adapted/conditioned to wear ridiculous sunglasses big enough to accept the optics to run a HUD.

I've been using a set of Bose Audio Sunglasses with Google Maps for directions when riding.

I can't see a map, but the audio queues are (usually) all I need for directions.

Basically, I like the idea of these sunglasses, but the information shown doesn't actually seem all that useful.

it's the same info you'd have on a cycling computer. If you're doing intervals you want to know your current power output/heart rate as well as your targets for those. Or maybe you're focusing on getting your cadence higher instead of grinding in lower gears. All of this stuff is worth showing to someone training for cycling. For a commuter, nah. I mean I guess it's cool to see your speed. This doesn't even look like it'll do turning queues the way a GPS enabled head unit will. But that's cool, since the only info you probably want without looking down at your head unit is what it offers.

Looks like they work just as well for running (no reason to think they wouldn't). Seem useful to keep a certain pace without having to look down and check anything. I definitely run harder when I can see exactly how (not) fast I'm going.

They also have these, believe it or not, for swimmers


I use Form goggles. They are aimed at competitive swimmers, but all I care about is heart rate. I had previously used an Apple Watch but stopping at the end of a lap (or after the swim) and looking at your watch kinda defeats the purpose.

With Form I see my heart rate in real time 100% of the time. I was worried I'd have a problem being near sighted but it really does look like the data is being projected 10 feet in front of me. It's a neat trick - my brain actually thinks that when I exhale the bubbles are in-between me and the projection, even though I know it obviously isn't.

My only complaint is that every single forking time I open the app it tries to upsell me on their structured training program for a monthly fee. Literally every time - I open the app and have to tap 'no thanks' before I can use it!

While I have your ear, what is the actual "goggle" performance like? These came up as the highest-end option when I was looking for a new pair. I have constant problems with every pair with seal, fogging and eventually degradation of the materials. My most recent speedo goggles see-through seal has degraded to the horrible yellow plastic, even inside a case, in a bag, in a cupboard.

It’s very good. I’ve only had them since the first week of August so I can’t speak to their longevity. But they’re comfortable (I do up to 90 minutes), stay on in turns, don’t leak or fog. They project the HUD display onto this little screen on one of the Goggles (you can make it either left or right). Because of that they say to not do the typical thing that every swimmer does and spit in the goggles and rub it in. They say to never touch the goggle interior and just trust the anti fog coating.

Rear view mirror would be useful.

You could easily code one for existing AR eyesets (connect to a camera at the vehicle tail). But that would take a relatively big flat area (the camera output) in your central visual region (the device I know has no display in the periphery), so I am not sure it is the most practical solution. Data in AR eyesets is best placed if its elements are surrounded by the environment (opaque text in a transparent background).

Rear view mirrors are already available. You can just clip one to your helmet or handlebars.

Yes, but serious cyclists are into the fashion and aesthetic of looking 'pro'. There are a million little details, and a mirror is a big faux pas.

That's their problem. If you're doing something for the look, then maybe you should reconsider the why.

what problem does this solve vs. a smartphone mounted on the handlebars?

As the article states, you can keep your eyes on the road instead of glancing down. And most cyclists who would potentially buy a device like this use a dedicated bike computer, not a smartphone.

yes I read that. can't you just look down when it's safe?

In city traffic it's never save while you are moving, bike lanes are frequently intruded by parking or moving cars, or pedestrians if they are part of the sidewalk instead. And outside of bike lanes you're a car without crumple zones, not a good situation to look anywhere but the street either.

For leisure biking you obviously choose paths where it doesn't matter.

I get that, but wouldn't it be worse having stuff obscure your vision, especially at night where I assume it would be illuminated? reducing your ability to see dark things at night (assuming it works at night).

I guess I don't understand why you need to see your heart rate and speed constantly. presumably any device (bike computer or phone) could just record your position and speed and you could just look later if you cared.

Heart rate and power (in watts) are used as a measure of how hard you’re going. During intervals you’re almost always trying to target a specific heart rate zone and stay there. During long climbs, elite riders know how many watts they’re capable of making and for how long. Watts then become a way to pace yourself and avoid going too hard. Same with heart rate

If the usage is meant in the city where as you mentioned the focus is on avoiding all kinds of obstacles, having the heart rate occupying display estate is at best meaningless and at worst dangerous.

interesting - thanks for the reply.

> having stuff obscure your vision

With the Augmented Reality headset I have, darker shades (obscuring the environment) improve the visibility of the "augmentational" displayed elements, but it is not necessary, and very probably unrequired when the information is concise (e.g heart rate value, as opposed to an essay).

> why you need to see your heart rate and speed constantly [...] record ... and ... look later

You do not get "feedback" if you check later. Real time feedback is different from "next-day analysis".

>yes I read that, but is that a problem? can't you just look down when it's safe?

I didn't downvote your comments but have you heard of HUD and why those augmented displays exist in some airplanes?


My car has a HUD and it is a game changer for me. I won't go back to a car without one.

I only wish the navigational info from my Android Car would be piped in there as well, as (with my current model) only onboard navigation works with the HUD.

But my eyes never leave the road. Even when it might be safe, something might occur the exact moment, I am looking down to check the speed or something.

So for me it is a massive improvement in safety.

seems like it's most common in aircrafts. I feel that the situation there is completely different.

HUDs are good for when it can be unsafe to look away from what's going on around you. That includes flying in formation, close to the ground or in combat, and cycling.

Not really, cyclists try to keep a steady cadence as they go along. It'd be quite liberating to be able to keep an eye on how you're tracking without having to regularly glance down at a little computer thing.

I think they are more focused on power nowadays. The "screenshot" shows speed, power and distance.

Yes. Aircraft are much less liable to get hit by something if they look down for a moment.

Pilots in a tight formation are very likely to hit someone else if they glance away. Or even hit the ground. I’ve witnessed a pilot crash while flying inverted close to the ground. Certain kinds of flying require an extremely high level of concentration.

It would be helpful in some situations. Especially when you're trying to execute a structured workout or race pacing plan based on power or heart rate while avoiding potholes and dodging other cyclists.

This is for doing interval training. When I go out for a ride for instance I have a file from my training platform (Today's Plan) loaded on my bike computer. It queues me to the intervals I'll be doing. Each interval has a target power range (in Watts), heart rate range, and cadence. I can see all those targets and my actual values for those stats on screen at the same time on my bike computer (aka head unit). Glancing down at it is not perfect; I'd love having all this info as a heads up display. I was thinking about switching from glasses to contacts just so I could get sunglasses too, so this is coming out at the right time for me.

Not really, but you might get bullied other cyclists/fans.


When you’re mountain biking is certainly a problem. Doing intervals or racing on a really tight, twisty, and bumpy trail, not only do you have less time to look at your computer, it’s moving around so much relative to your eyes that it takes a bit longer just find it and focus on it. Sometimes it takes me 2-3 tries to read my heart rate data on especially technical sections.

Road biking though, I really struggle to see the value. But it’s cool and like some other post said, bikers will spend exorbitant amounts of money on marginal gains.

Whoever has been teaching everyone that the only way to make money is to "solve a problem" really needs to stop with this nonsense already.

nobody claimed that, so i'm not sure why you mention it. you know it's possible for someone to actually just not understand right?

It is a problem at higher speeds (>40 km/h) so in sprints or more typically in downhills.

In downhills live data aren’t really that useful. If it showed a live map, that would be very useful.

Nobody looks at their watts or speed while sprinting or descenting.

I like having my speed up for funsies so I know when I'm breaking the limit, but that's about it. The page on my head unit I use for structured training rides doesn't even have speed.

it's a problem not having the data in front of you at high speeds? I don't get it. wouldn't it be unsafe having stuff obscure your vision constantly?

Have you used or seen a HUD before? For example if you play video games, how many times might someone die while looking away from the screen? What about compared to glancing at their health, or Ammo? While the uninitiated think a HUD blocks your vision, it actually rests in a position (and is translucent) in such a way that you see through it and any glance would be milliseconds comparer to seconds of looking away. Plus your peripheral vision. Would notice changes to things while looking at the HUD compared to looking completely away.

yes I used Google Glass for a year. it definitely obscures your vision compared to not using it.

it's funny you mention games because most games I've been playing have been moving away from having a HUD visible all of the time, and only show it contextually.

I tend to believe from other people's reports (also in this page) that Google Glass works differently from more recent systems. Translucent augmentational data, augmentational data and environment co-present and just eye-focus away in focus do not seem to obscure the vision. Personal experience, though not used at high speeds.

As always with this kind of tech, this solves the problem of 7 world-class cyclers and millions of wannabees. It doesn't have to solve a problem, the bulk of it s sales is because it s a cool gadget.

No. Having obtained good Augmented Reality equipment years ago changed my life for good: I can now be physically active while continuing intellectual practice.

Cyclists will spend thousands for what most would consider relatively minor improvements.

It is a HUD. This currently touches only a small part of what I need to see implemented. Directions and turn-by-turn navigation, overview-map of riders position, highlighting obstructions, traffic congestion...

Looking not only at computer games but aviation much of these is in use for many years. It a more efficient and saver to show this transparently into the field-of-view.

Much more convenient. I’m absentminded. I’ve left a GoPro on my bike and had it stolen (totally my fault, this was in the middle of a big city). If I mounted my smartphone in certain I’d repeat the mistake.

However, I’m not going to loose wearable glasses. And while I don’t find the preference information useful, this would be great for getting GPS directions.

For me it would solve the problem of not being able to read my phone on handlebars without reading glasses.

Correct: the technology I know (Epson) has the "augmentational" displays work as a "distant focus screen" (as opposed to a "near the eyes" object - beyond that threshold of proximity that has the eyes radically change focus for, say, reading an handheld). So, while you will as usual change the eye focus according to distance (one arm distant, three, ten, thirty etc.) within the distant objects, the virtual screen will be a closer distant object (say, one arm distant).

The environment is distant, the virtual screen (the "augmentational" information) is still distant - no "reading glasses" involved. If one requires lenses for sharp vision of distant objects (for myopia), they will be equally required for reading data in the virtual screen.

I guess it means you can look where you're going at all times + have the data visible constantly rather than in intermittent glances.

Nothing. The glasses works as a display. You would still need to pair it with a bike computer (nobody using dedicated cycling glasses use a smart phone as their ride computer).

Augmented Reality vs screens somewhere in the environment solves the problem of separating information and environment: they are simultaneous presences with the focus on either only eye-focus distant.

Smartphones aren’t very aero.

I can bet that a MAAMA (Meta, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon) company is going to acquire this smart glasses technology.

Which side of this claimed technology is new?

It's not about being 'new' it's about the overall execution and who ever best executes and (re)introduces the smart glasses with the software ecosystem well, wins.

Out of the MAMMA companies it is likely to come from either Meta, Apple or even Alphabet.

Epson, then. It's already there and getting out of those tracks (especially adopting the ghastly paradigms, that many people would avoid like pestilence, those companies easily use) would very probably mean to ruin it.

You seem to be making reference to an «overall execution» that appeals to the masses, not to the involved user. "Alpinism for everyone", "alpinism for dummies" and "alpinism for the mountaineer" are not the same thing.

> You seem to be making reference to an «overall execution» that appeals to the masses, not to the involved user.

Yes, because that is what counts in terms of market dominance and mass adoption of a product category. This has worked for several companies in reintroducing the smartphone and smartwatches without being 'first'. After targeting the average user, the same companies focus towards the professionals and build a version targeting them.

Thus, it is both the masses and the professionals along side the overall execution of that.

It turns out that Epson's ones appeal more towards B2B2C uses than directly towards the average user. The other way round is true for the smart glasses in this HN article but targets a niche of sports users. Neither have separate versions that targets both markets or is even remotely mass adopted.

Without targeting the masses first, they risk being disrupted by the ones that do and will lose entirely or get acquired once the disruptors begin to target the professionals. Whoever does the overall execution of all of the above for the smart glasses, simply wins.

We are currently missing a decent pluralism in production. Smartphone and smartwatches are a example: thousands of inadequate similar models, and with software and systems the "intended user" (say, those of us, probably many, who kept programmable electronic devices in their pockets since the earliest years) does not trust. That «win» is a problem, if you are a consumer needing instruments - instead of just a citizen at the arena watching gladiators fight.

In fact, I am not sure which «smartphone and smartwatches» are those for the professionals in «After targeting the average user, the same companies focus towards the professionals and build a version targeting them».

The Augmented Reality Eyeset technology is ready already for mass adoption - in terms of results. The problem is just with a couple of missing details.

only if they are actually any good.

I find it funny how over-American this is.

In the U.S. bicycles are basically tools for practising sports and, as such, should be expensive, ultra-efficient and loaded with high-tech.

In the rest of the world (from Amsterdam to Manila) bicycles are mostly for transportation and should be durable, reliable and not expensive at all. So far, I never saw an "omafiets" (a.k.a. "grandma bike") in the US. And sports should also be very cheap and shouldn't need expensive equipment, as in "real" football (aka: "soccer").

Edit: also, isn't bicycle navigation the kind of problem that Eric Migicowski tried to solve in Amsterdam with smartwatches (Pebble)?

That's an odd statement considering how popular bike racing is in Europe. I seem to recall a bunch of expensive, ultra-efficient and loaded with high-tech bikes dashing through France last July...

Weird over-generalization that ignores the popularity of cycling as a sport (which is expensive) in Europe and the fact that the majority of people using bicycles in the US are using them how you describe the rest of the world uses them.

The US has barely any road racing scene; the closest we have is just Criterium racing. The biggest road races in the world happen in Europe and are won by Europeans. Barely any US companies even sponsor teams at the secondary level let alone primary. Trek is the only one I can think of off the top of my head and they split it with Segafredo.

But the other thing is what kinds of bikes you see in the US. By far what you see the most of in NYC is shitty Huffys that cost maybe $150 new, and then Arrow e-bikes that food delivery drivers use.

Are you trying to say Peloton bikes will not saves us from doom?

What? No. Competitive cycling was birthed in Europe.

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