It doesn’t seem so long ago that the possibility of wearable technology was rooted firmly in the future. After last year saw the quick withdrawal of the Google Glass from the public market, it seemed we weren’t quite ready for cybernetic eyewear, however 2016’s Olympians are showing us that maybe we are ready to take the plunge.
Propeaq LED Glasses
There’s been a lot of publicity around Propeaq glasses in Rio, the company are working in collaboration with many Olympic teams to ensure athletes are feeling on top form for the games.
Targeted at frequent flyers and sufferers of jet lag, the glasses work by mimicking a typical day to night cycle for the wearer.
— Propeaq Glasses (@propeaq) July 12, 2016
When travelling to a different time-zone and being away from home it can be difficult for even the soundest sleeper to get a good night’s rest, so to expect a career best performance from these athletes is a really big ask. It’s very likely the Olympic teams will be suffering from sleep deprivation as many sleep-inducing drugs are banned at the games. These glasses provide a clever alternative, working with coloured lenses and LED lights. The use of light therapy to reduce jet lag is certainly revolutionary; athletes have a mobile app which works together with the glasses to optimize their energy levels and ultimately improve performance. Glasses can be switched from night mode; red lenses with no lights, to day mode’s blue lenses and bright LEDs. These different functions help to regulate cortisol and melatonin production which could provide the key to a medal winning year for Australia, who are using Propeaq as their official performance eyewear.
Solos Wearables Glasses
Although the Solos glasses are yet to be seen at the games, owing to regulations restricting eyewear in the cycling competition, its possible we may be seeing them very soon. The US cycling team have been wearing the Solos Wearables by Kopin throughout their training leading up to the games.
The glasses have been an ongoing collaborative project between Solos and USA cycling an all-encompassing governing body for track cycling, road cycling and mountain biking. Together the needs of cyclists have been found by USA cycling and addressed by Solos Wearables.
Initially the focus was on the overarching qualities of the sunglasses, when a fraction of a second could be the difference between first and second every gram counts. As such the glasses are made from a very strong but incredibly light military grade thermoplastic-polyamide nylon blend and are carefully designed to fit the shape of a helmet, ensure maximum peripheral vision and reduce wind resistance.
Now for the clever bit; the glass features a micro-display using the world’s smallest optical module. This was originally $10 million development for US soldiers in the field.
The very same module but now enables athletes to check their critical data without so much as looking down at a smart watch. The hope is that never having to avert their eyes from the task at hand will help avoid accidents and allow valuable, potentially winning, seconds to be regained.
Champion’s Choice Shooting Glasses
Wearable tech is everywhere in the shooting competitions at the games, most shooters will be wearing some form of technology in their eyewear.
Vitalina Batsarashkina has received many comments on her personalised eyewear, whilst Anna Korakaki saw her frames help her to gold medal victory and Jitu Rai, 10m air pistol finalist, can be seen below sporting a pair of high-tech frames.
Champion’s Choice provides many Olympic athletes with their shooting glasses and whilst they are certainly not the only shooting glasses to be seen at the games, they offer immensely complex frames. Some pairs consist of around one hundred different pieces; the most important of these are the lens, blinders, and mechanical irises.
Jitu Rai in finals of 10m Air Pistol at Rio Olympics
Chances of Medal slim as he is in 6th position with 580 Pts pic.twitter.com/bP27fM2FTz
— Akash Soni (@Akashtv1) August 6, 2016
Firstly the lens; this first and foremost protects the eyes from the threat of any debris, a piece of shrapnel to the eye would be truly disastrous for any of these athletes. The lens also has varying colours of glass which the shooter can select according to the weather conditions.
Blinders are the ‘flaps’ that hang directly over and to the side of the eye of the shooter. The side blinders prevent wind from interfering with the vision of the athlete, whilst the front blinders allow the shooter to focus with one eye only and block outside interference such as movement from other shooters or excess light.
The mechanical iris is the most complex part of the frames and works in much the same way as an SLR camera aperture does.
The hole in the iris narrows to allow less light into the pupil of the athlete, affording them a deeper depth of field, whilst still enabling them to focus on both the sights of the gun and the target simultaneously.
It’s no secret that wearable tech is developing at a rapid pace, but this year’s athletes have proved beyond shadow of a doubt that this technology is becoming something that is not just helpful, but truly necessary if world records are to be broken.
Featured Image from: Keoni Cabral