Google Glass for Motorcycles

Are these forthcoming “digital glasses” the ultimate navigation and heads-up display for motorcycle riders or just another threat to traffic safety?

Google Glass

Google Glass

“Google Glass” heads-up-display glasses have hit the tech world with a bang. A promotional video shows lots of different applications for these “wearable computers,” from enhanced reality to video recording, picture taking and more. Now, everyone is thinking about practical applications. As motorcyclists, we were immediately concerned about an increase in distracted driving, already a huge threat to traffic safety. At the same time, we also wonder what it would be like to use Google Glass while riding.

Naturally, the most obvious application would be heads-up mapping. Imagine seeing your next turn without having to look away from the road, or knowing where traffic congestion is building and choosing a faster, safer route.

Beyond basic navigation, there is much more that could be done. Many already use helmet cameras to record and share their rides, but what if those cameras could be activated by voice? You could begin filming without taking your hands off the handlebars, capture amazing scenery as you ride down your favorite road or snap a picture of a goofy kid in a nearby car as you pass by him. You could also get environmental information about your surroundings, or obtain history on a building or park you just passed.

Google Glass Example

Google Glass Example

With GPS at work, you can assume heads-up speed and weather information would also be available. Eventually, you might even be able to customize your bike and ditch its physical gauges, as road speed, engine rpm and gear choice could be embedded in your heads-up display. Before you leave for the racetrack, you could upload a map of the circuit so you’re already familiar with the turns, or use the glasses to see your lap time right in front of your face.

Google Glass probably won’t be available until the middle of 2014. There is certainly some promise to the technology, but these new displays might also present significant problems. Having too much information in front of you while riding could be dangerous, and there is no doubt distracted driving in cars is already a huge issue. Still, it sure is fun to imagine the possibilities by integrating this technology into the faceshields of our helmets.

For a more in-depth look at this technology, check out the articles from our friends at Popsci.