Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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AR ski goggles make the slopes look more like videogames

AR ski goggles make the slopes look more like videogames

Of Google Glass, Magic Leap, and other head-bound technology, the upcoming RideOn may be the most niche face-mounted wearable of them all. RideOn is a pair of ski goggles, but with a twist—it’s complete with augmented reality, the first device of its kind that combines the two. Soon, snow-loving stick-gliders everywhere can experience RideOn, as the unique AR device ogles a release window of October 2016 following its successful IndieGoGo campaign last year.

A familiar, videogame-like interface

RideOn’s AR in the skiing realm skirts one of a familiar, videogame-like interface. The goggles’ digital components overlay the actual snowfallen mountains a skier might see, where fellow riders with the hardware even pop-up in the distance. If I were skiing (for the record: I’m only okay at sledding, but nothing else) and spotted another RideOn-adorned user, I’d have the ability to communicate with them directly via call or text. “Wait for me,” a text prompt I’d send might read (knowing in my heart that I’d never actually be able to catch up).

RideOn doesn’t halt with its social AR components. It also has what might be the most necessary asset of all: navigation. Navigation, where virtual maps and notable spots pop up in the peripheral for the skier, big arrows appearing directly in front of them to help guide them. Just like getting turned around in the old PS2 snowboarding game SSX (2000), and having gigantic arrows redirect the player onto a path of clarity. RideOn simulates the thrills of the SSX series and other snow-bountiful games in more ways than mere navigation, as it has gamified parts too. Or at least, games of the “race a virtual user” and “ski through these hoops” variety.

That plebian on the far right doesn't have a RideOn, smdh.
That pleb on the far right doesn’t have a RideOn, smh.

Head-mounted wearables didn’t start with Google Glass, but the failed hardware still helped pave the way for others to create optical computer technology. Google Glass’s first iteration didn’t contain virtual or augmented technology. Instead, it served as more of a miniature smartphone of sorts. You could surf the web with more ease than ever—hands-free. Too bad it wasn’t much of a success.

While Google has gone back to the drawing board with their glasses-centered technology, it’s helped spur a launching point for other, better products to come to fruition. Products like Magic Leap’s dizzying optical mixture of digital and physical reality, or even the creative and surprisingly practical snowbound ventures of RideOn. AR and VR break our immediate connections with the world, so why not let them be the lens in which we view it with?

Can’t wait to snap a great pic of a yeti through your AR ski goggles? You can preorder RideOn just in time for the holiday season for a discounted price of $629 (usually $899).

Versions is brought to you by Nod Labs,
Precision wireless controllers for your virtual, augmented and actual reality.
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