Technology developed for ski goggles by three Sauder MBA grads and a master’s candidate in engineering has caught the attention of NASA, which is testing the head-mounted display system for potential use in a new generation of spacesuit.
Recon Instruments was started in 2006 by alumni Dan Eisenhardt, Fraser Hall and Darcy Hughs, and post-grad engineering student Hamid Abdollahi. The hi-tech ski and snowboard goggles they have developed use GPS and motion sensors to provide real-time displays of data – such as speed, temperature, time and distance – that the wearer can use to inform decisions. The technology will also link to the user’s smartphone, include wireless video cameras, and boast navigation and buddy-tracking abilities.
UBC students have been involved in the development of the technology along the way. “The calibre of students from the university has been fantastic and they provide an integral part in the R&D of our technology,” says Abdollahi. “We have so far had over 10 research projects and internships with UBC in various research areas. In some cases, students were hired after completion of their research projects.”
UBC Okanagan electrical engineering master’s student Fazle Sadi is currently helping to refine the display system further. He has been working with the Recon team on developing complex algorithms to crunch data from sensors including a GPS, accelerator, gyroscope and digital compass. The aim is to create even smarter goggles, providing skiers and snowboarders with on-the-spot information they can use to improve their jumping technique, for example.
NASA is testing the technology at its annual fall research and technology studies.