At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel presented a prototype of the Oakley Radar Pace sunglasses, which pair with sensors like power meters, heart rate monitors and speed/cadence sensors, then interact with the rider via voice control. Think Apple's Siri, but for cycling.
In a demonstration video, three-time Ironman winner Craig Alexander was shown riding with the Radar Pace glasses, and asking, "Okay, Radar, what's my workout plan today?" A female robotic voice responded to this query with the day's plan, and delivered other information during his ride, such as "I can tell this is too easy for you, so let's work a little harder."
Another interaction: "How's my power?" "Your power is 320 watts."
Neither Intel nor Oakley specified exactly how any of this would work, such as what app or software would drive the Pace, but an Oakley representative provided a bit of detail to BikeRadar, saying the company is still "in the very early stages of Radar Pace."
"Radar Pace collects a variety of data from both the eyewear and the additional sensors you can choose to pair with it, such as a heart rate monitor or speed and cadence sensors," said the Oakley employee, who asked not to be named. "And unique to Radar Pace, the eyewear interprets an athlete’s data in real-time and provides active instruction and motivation during a workout versus saving the data for interpretation at a later time."
Oakley has produced something similar before, with the Oakley Thump glasses in 2004 which featured an in-built MP3 player. From the demonstration, it's clear they include speakers, a microphone and small computer, and potentially some kind of performance monitor or monitoring software, but the rest is a mystery.
However, a clue might be had in the origins of the glasses, which are the product of a collaboration between the eyewear giant and Californian tech company Intel.
Back in the summer of 2015, Intel acquired Recon Instruments, a Canadian company who also produce smart glasses. Recon glasses, which we've reviewed on BikeRadar, have much of the same functionality as the setback-plagued Google Glass, including computer, GPS system, smartphone connectivity and camera.
So could the Oakley Radar Pace include some of this functionality? We'll update you as soon as we find out.
The wearable tech market is growing rapidly, and the last few months have seen a number of new products with a cycling focus emerge, including the Garmin Varia Vision, an attachment that adds a data display to your sunglasses.
On stage at the Intel presentation in Las Vegas, Alexander gave his pitch for the Radar Pace.
"Technology has dramatically changed how athletes train," Alexander said. "We can get data on just about anything. The challenge with data is that it requires interpretation to mean anything. As an athlete, I need to know what the data means, and how to respond to it in the moment. This is why most athletes have a coach."
Alexander and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the Radar Pace is like having a coach "right there with you."
Oakley Radar Pace price and release date
Krzanich said the Oakley Radar Pace would launch in late 2016. As yet, no price has been confirmed.