Last month we put out an introductory article on use cases for AR/VR. In it we outlined some potential ways in which AR/VR might impact industry and individuals. We also tried to provide some examples of how AR/VR technology is being used in the real world today to great benefit. It truly is an exciting time to be involved in the AR/VR space because the technology and its potential is coming to fruition right now. For example, just last week we saw news on another use case as Eversight, a manufacturer of helmet mounted displays for fighter jet pilots, announced the release of their Raptor AR Smartglasses, aimed at the cycling and triathlete consumer markets.
The Raptor AR Smartglasses essentially function as a heads-up-display full of useful information for the rider. Ride distance, speed, heart rate, etc. are all displayed right in front of the wearer’s eyes. These glasses also have built in GPS, and can display navigation information. Through Bluetooth connectivity the device can interface with a smartphone and play music, display text messages, and handle phone calls for the user, all while actively participating in the sport.
We point all of these features out, not to promote the product, but simply to highlight our stance that AR/VR technology is positioned to disrupt markets and make existing technologies obsolete. The Raptor AR Smartglasses function as high performance sunglasses and perform all the functions of a $350 bike computer, and a bluetooth headset all in one package that weight less than 100 grams.
Detractors might say the $500 price tag will deter riders from purchasing this product but we think otherwise. The product performs all of its functions at a cost that is similar to the aggregate cost of purchasing a bike computer and a pair of high quality sunglasses with Bluetooth headphones. But the AR glasses provide benefits that the other products do not.
First, the product increases rider safety. While wearing the glasses it’s no longer necessary to look down a bike computer to check on your pace. The rider’s eyes can stay on the road at all times. Looking away from the road, no matter the length of time, increases risk to the rider.
Second, the product has the potential to increase rider performance. The ability to monitor performance on a continuous basis, especially during strenuous portions of a ride when looking down at a bike computer would slow the rider down, is a huge benefit. With navigation directly in front of the rider’s eyes, missed turns are a much lower probability as well.
In the grand scheme of things using AR glasses for cycling is novel and useful, but the opportunity extends far beyond and the consequences are greater. Consider the healthcare field, for example. AR technology, in the same form factor as discussed above, could be used by surgeons to make surgery safer and faster by allowing them to review patient medical history, displaying real time patient vital information such as heartbeat and blood pressure, and helping the surgeon identify incision locations by superimposing virtual markers on the surgeons view of the patient. That’s just one example of how AR/VR technology can be used in other industries, and we will delve into healthcare industry use cases in future articles.
Although cycling is a somewhat niche use case, when compared to opportunities within the healthcare sector for example, this specific instance of the proliferation of AR/VR technology highlights some important facets of our investment thesis: AR/VR technology can replace existing technology and provide more benefits. When you boil it all down the power of AR technology, in this case, is derived from its ability to put the user closer to the computing power and allow them to use that computing power to perform tasks easier and/or better.
Image Credit: 3xsport.com