Perhaps it’s the Liquid Crystal Display inside Zeal Optics’ Transcend ski goggles that gives them their James Bond feel. Or
maybe it’s their built-in Global Positioning System, or the fact that they have their own downloadable software and can connect to a computer via USB cable. Whatever the reason, once you slide the Transcend down over your eyes, you’ll begin to imagine that Q, the gadget master himself, may have had a hand in their design.
Ever blazed down a steep fall line and wished you knew exactly how fast you were going? Or stared down a treacherously steep double-black diamond trail and wondered how high up you were? Now you can know. The GPS and LCD technologies inside the Transcend work together to provide such data as speed, altitude, distance and temperature, all in real time with minimum fuss.
You start by charging the goggles in a wall outlet for three hours, which gives them about six hours of juice (a typical ski day).
Once you hit the mountain and are in the open air (the GPS can’t sync as well indoors), you turn the Transcend on using a glove-friendly button on the side of the frames. Inside the goggles, in the lower right, you will see a tiny LCD screen light up.
This unobtrusive screen acts as a dashboard for the GPS, relaying the information that it pulls from the four satellites it has synced with. With a quick glance you can check your speed, altitude and the time. Cycling through the menus you’ll see such statistics as total distance and total vertical. In addition, the dashboard can be set to give you pop-up alerts whenever something significant occurs, such as when you’ve topped your previous maximum speed.
The Transcend, which sells for $499, can record up to five ski days worth of performance data before it needs to be cleared. When this happens, plug the goggles into a computer and upload your data to the company’s website. All of your ski runs will get automatically overlayed onto a Google Earth map of the mountain you skied. You can review all your runs, and even brag about the more triumphant ones to friends and family via Facebook or Twitter.
Now if only they came with laser beams. . .