If you’ve ever found yourself riding along thinking to yourself, “Boy, I wish I could see my speed, gear position and sat-nav directions without having to look down,” then perhaps BMW’s new Connected Ride Smartglasses are for you.
The party piece of these hi-tech sunglasses is a small unit which projects a head-up display directly on to the right lens. In theory, this means important information can always be kept in sight, so there’s no need to take your eyes off the road to glance at a dash or sat-nav unit. The data being projected in the head-up display can be customised by the rider too, so they can choose to have only the information they think matters.
It’s possible to pick from four pieces of information that the glasses can display: current speed; gear position; navigation directions; and current speed limit. The first two are taken from the bike, while the last two come from the phone app (and not a dedicated sat-nav unit). The small display, which seems semi-transparent and appears to float, can be adjusted for position and brightness.
But hold fire just a second, as there are a few hurdles you’ll have to clear before you can ride around pretending to be an F-35 fighter pilot. The first is that you’ll need to ride a BMW – and not just any BMW, but a relatively recent one that features connectivity via a TFT display. That’s because the Connected Ride Smartglasses are driven by the BMW Motorrad Connected phone app, which needs to be paired via Bluetooth to both the bike’s TFT clocks as well as these sunglasses.
The next obstacle is that your eyesight needs to be good enough. If you normally wear glasses to ride, then you’ll also need to buy vision-correcting adaptor lenses that fit inside these smart sunglasses. However, these adaptors are only available with a maximum strength of up to 4 dioptres. If you’re more long or short sighted than that, then you’re out of luck.
And the last thing you’ll need, inevitably, is some money. BMW’s Connected Ride Smartglasses aren’t cheap – UK prices haven’t yet been confirmed but in Europe they’ll retail for a whopping €690. It’s enough to make your eyes water…
BMW claim these are “the world’s first motorcycle smartglasses” and are the result of a joint development with Everysight, an Israeli technology company. The glasses are powered by a small lithium-ion battery which is rated to give 10 hours of power, after which time you’ll need to charge them up using a magnetic USB cable.
Connected Ride Smartglasses will be available in two sizes (Medium or Large – which fits you should pick will depend on the distance between your pupils) and can be used with a choice of two lens tints (either 85% transparent, or a darker tint more like regular sunglasses). BMW say the glasses are designed to be used in all styles of motorcycle helmets, even those with drop-down sun visors.
Whether they’ll catch on remains to be… ahem… seen.
Note that while the Connected Glasses currently work with iOS devices, an update is due by the end of August 2023 for Android compatibility.
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