NASA Looks Into Snowboarding Goggle Technology
Anti-glare, anti-fog goggles have long been an essential item for snowboarders. State of the art technology now gives snowboarding enthusiasts the option of incorporating full GPS features in their goggles, thereby having access to real-time statistics such as speed, vertical, altitude, temperature, total distance readings, run-counter, and stopwatch/chrono mode clock. Moreover, the head-mounted, full color LCD display provides features such as Google maps overlay, and logging of averages, as well as maximum and minimum statistics over several days. A micro USB port allows for data transfer and charging – and all this in a package weighing just 257 grams.
The benefits of this amazing technology has recently caught the attention of the world’s most advanced space exploration agency, and in a joint statement released by NASA and the developer and manufacturer of this GPS gem, Recon Instruments, it was revealed that NASA would be testing the equipment during their desert RATS (research and technology studies) field tests in September this year. Currently astronauts are limited to verbal communication with ground control, or fellow astronauts in the vehicle when collecting data while space walking, and one of the objectives in developing new space suits is to make each crew member more autonomous. Experts in the field have noted that this will be even more essential as man probes deeper into space.
In a formal statement, NASA systems engineer Scott Bleisath revealed that the team at the NASA Glenn Research Center has been investigating the possibility of in-helmet displays for some time. The research and development undertaken by Recon Instruments for the snow sport industry will give NASA the opportunity to test this technology for future spacesuit designs. Recon Instruments CEO Dan Eisenhardt noted that the company is proud to be working with NASA and look forward to developing a solution for the next generation spacesuits.
So as NASA heads out into the Arizona desert in September to test out a variety of equipment under the harshest conditions, there will no doubt be many a crew member who would welcome some fun in the snow. And as snowboarders don their kit to hit the slopes they can enjoy all the features of their high-tech GPS enabled alpine goggles and can rest assured that they will find their way home.