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This New Gadget Gives Cyclists Hands-Free Intel While They Ride

Varia Vision clips on to sunglasses and beams up directions and warnings about oncoming vehicles.

Image Garmin
Garmin

This week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has begun barraging newsfeeds with electric supercar concepts and wi-fi-enabled ceiling fans. Many of the gadgets on display focus on turning everyday objects into smarter, more digitally connected versions of themselves. One of them, Garmin’s Varia Vision, transforms a cyclist’s sunglasses into a livestream of useful—and potentially life-saving—information.

The lightweight apparatus clips onto the side of a pair of glasses, then beams data from other devices (such as a phone or computer) into the biker’s field of vision. For a hefty $400, Varia Vision will let the user see navigational instructions, performance stats, and incoming calls or texts without looking away from the road or using their hands to unlock a phone.

Of course, this still sucks up more attention than if the cyclist simply refrained from checking his or her phone while riding. Garmin even warns potential customers that “users should view data on the display at a glance only and should always focus on surroundings.” But the tool also has a particularly useful safety feature: it can team up with Garmin’s $200 radar system that detects vehicles approaching from up to 140 meters behind the bicycle. A cyclist can note and avoid traffic coming up from behind—all the more important if it’s a snazzy supercar with a silent electric motor.

Of course, there’s another technology that lets bicyclists see what’s coming up behind them. It’s called a mirror; you can get one on Amazon for less than $10. But for those cyclists with extra cash in their streamlined pockets, the Varia Vision offers greater security through technological sophistication. Maybe you won’t see a reckless driver, but your smart sunglasses will.

H/t The Next Web.

About the Author

  • Julian Spector is an editorial fellow at CityLab, where he covers climate change, energy, and clean tech.