Introduction

Augmented reality technologies have opened up a whole new range of possibilities for informing us about the world around us through overlaying data on real-time images. We have access to almost unlimited information at our fingertips through our smartphones, but sometimes, it just isn’t possible to concentrate on using your phone. You may be cycling, skiing, snow-boarding or simply have your hands full. Google glass goes some way to giving the functionality of a hands-free smartphone, but let’s face it, sometimes you may want to do something a little more dangerous than videoing that salad you’re preparing, or translating a café menu! The potential applications of AR are almost endless, and we want you to use this technology to revolutionise equipment for extreme sports.

Task

Your team has been tasked to develop a heads-up display unit that can be used as an alternative to conventional ski goggles. Use of overlaid data, GPS, Bluetooth, and other technologies, these goggles are intended to inform and keep safe individuals who take part in extreme sports. This challenge requires you to incorporate a number of systems into one usable, hands-free, technology.

Essential features of your design are those that improve the user’s safety. Can you keep track of skiers so that they can be warned if they are heading towards dangerous snow conditions, or if bad weather is approaching? Is it possible to incorporate an emergency alarm to alert mountain rescue in the case of an accident? Can you use AR to overlay data on real-life images, highlighting hazards such as ice, rocks and hidden dips?

These new AR gadget goggles are expected to be very popular with competitive skiers. Is it possible to display stats such as speed and integrate these with fitness monitoring biosensors to keep track of individual performance? Could this technology be used to show skiers how they are improving on certain types of terrain?

Your design must stand out from the competition, not only visually, but functionally. Can you integrate novel features to give these goggles a social or competitive edge? They may be used to communicate between friends, organise races or anything else your team can dream of.

Considerations

You must thoroughly research existing technology to ensure you are proposing a truly novel AR gadget. Your project proposal should detail relevant existing designs and patents you have identified. How will your design integrate a social (or other) function to give it the competitive edge over other products?

As this is intended to be a sporting item, you must think carefully about how you plan to power your device, and consider the materials that can be used to make a cost-effective, robust and wearable design.

On an operational level, you must define how the display system operates and selects information, as well as ensuring that the display is easy to view and interpret, but not distracting. How will the device utilise data in real-time to assist decision-making in extreme sports?

To make your design appropriate, you should try and think about the various scenarios and situations that can occur during extreme sports, the problems and pressures faced by participants. Consider the variety of technologies available to you, from biological sensors to monitor a skier’s fitness, to adaptive systems that can predict alterations in weather or piste conditions and help skiers stay informed and safe.