The next big thing in cycling is… Google Glass. This tech eyewear from giant Google bring large parts of the Internet right to your face quite literally. Google Glass is a glasses like band with an interface on one arm and a view box on the upper right. Speak it and Google Glass delivers it to the screen at the corner. Record it, take a picture, audio, read text messages or even get directions while you ride without having to stop and read a map.

Google Glass

Google Glass & Cycling

So how is this new tech supposed to revolutionise cycling?

  • As mentioned, directions. Get a live map of the area. See where you need to go and the best way to get there all without releasing the handlebars. Sure you can use Google Maps on the iPhone and other mobile devices, but those require hands on. Short of a bicycle built for two or more, you’re going to have to stop and manipulate the phone.
  • Shoot it. You won’t need a helmet camera. With Google Glass, snap still images and record the ride with a few spoken commands. This is especially helpful when you are in a confrontation with a driver, want to report someone for being the kind of driver usually seen at a demolition derby and so forth.
  • Get help. You can access support and repair instructions from your mobile while on the road. But think of how much easier it will be to keep both hands working on the bike while you read the instructions from whatever angle your head happens to be at.
  • Record the ride. Play it back later to see what you could do differently the next time. Check your speed. Plenty to review.
  • Research, study, chat and do a lot of other distracting things that keep you from paying attention to the riding surface and where you’re headed. If you have record mode going, you can also have a video of the wreck you’re in because you were too busy paying attention to the Google Glass.

In case you wonder, Google Glass isn’t the only heads up display available for the bike market. Recon Jet has a cool looking set of shades aimed especially at the riding crowd. It provides ride performance data, maps and connections to a mobile for web access, phone and SMS.

Distraction not needed

Cycling View

Yes. These devices will be a distraction. Some riders, especially those who do extreme rides or in very crowded cities are going to look at these devices as a way to have even more spectacular wrecks. When your full attention needs to be on the road, the bike and yourself, a distraction like an incoming phone call with a message popping up in your line of vision is not something you want. For the more casual rider, this will be less of an issue.

Getting instant information, “Turn Left in 50 meters” as a spoken command could be handy. Motorists already cope with the distractions of driving and instructions from GPS units. But motorists are also contained in a big box.

Why I need this?

Face recognition technology, so far, is not going to be a part of Google Glass. But that may happen, especially when other developers launch similar products. This is going to be yet another privacy concern.

But the biggest issue facing Google Glass is “why do I need them?” The same question is asked every time a new technology is introduced. Smartphones and tablets and not, as a technology, very old and are ubiquitous. Are they needed? If you really want to press the point, no. They do make our lives more entertaining and in some cases more complicated and in other cases simpler. But ask those who have these devices if they want to live without the electronica and the answer will be a resounding no.

We think Google Glass is just the next revolution in the world of instant access and like it’s predecessors, it will soon be mainstream.

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