Garmin eyes cyclists with a HUD, athletes with smartwatches

The heads-up navigational display may be a thing of science fiction, but more cars are getting this concept, and this year, even cyclists will have the opportunity to see it as they ride, too.

If you’ve watched a lot of science fiction or played a futuristic video game or two, there’s a good chance you’ve been exposed to the idea of a heads up display.

Commonly referred to as a HUD, this concept takes speed, distance, and often GPS navigation information from the dashboard or external GPS and applies it to your windshield, popping up almost like a bit of a floating display that you can see as you drive.

It’s an idea that more or less has its origins in entertainment, but it’s something that is coming to life through electronics, and after dabbling in the idea with a car-based GPS back in 2013, the company has something else on the way, and this time, it’s for cyclists.

“We’re extremely excited to announce such an innovative line of new devices to the Australian market,” said Matt DeMoss, General Manager for Garmin Australasia.

“One of the most exciting announcements is the next device in our line of Varia cycling awareness products – the Varia Vision in-sight display. Cyclists can now easily view their data and receive alerts during a ride without needing to take their eyes off the road ahead,” he said.


Think of this gadget as Google Glass for cycling, because in a way, that’s exactly what Garmin’s Varia Vision is made for, relying on an in-sight display that you’ll attach to a pair of sunglasses that takes its feed from a compatible device, usually one of Garmin’s many portable cycling navigation computers and possibly even a smartphone, though we’re checking on that.

With the Varia Vision connected to both a pair of sunnies and to a host device, cyclists will see a projection of turn-by-turn directions, key performance information, and even a smart notification or two.


Controlling the glasses isn’t done with your eyes — sorry, we’re not that sci-fi yet — but rather with a glove- and wet-weather friendly touch panel on the side of the Varia Vision, which itself is made from weather-proof materials and weighs a total of 29.7 grams.

It can even connect to a rear-view system from Garmin to tell you when vehicles are approaching from behind, alerting you via the glasses you’re wearing.

Pricing on this one has been announced for Australia, a change on the typical CES fare, so expect this one to arrive in February for $649, though you will need to bring your own sunnies.

Garmin’s futuristic attachment for sunglasses isn’t the only thing you’ll be seeing from the company this year, with a couple of new watches, too.


Now that smartwatches are more or less certified as a big deal this year (hey, they were a big deal last year, too!), Garmin will be bringing two more out, upgrading the Fenix range to version 3, which now looks more resistant to the elements and includes tracking for a variety of activities as well as a new heart rate tracking technology to measure the output of your heart from your wrist.

With a colour screen and a look more like that of an outdoors and exercise-based watch, this is one smartwatch that takes the smartwatch idea and applies a look more like the rest of the brand, resulting in a gadget that definitely doesn’t look me-too.

Garmin’s Fenix 3 will arrive in February from $939, with a titanium option also coming for $1249, and if that last one grabs you, the second Garmin smartwatch may also.


Made to look like the sort of thing that Bear Grylls would probably wear, Garmin’s Tactix Bravo is a GPS smartwatch featuring a slightly more powerful antenna and a high-sensitivity GPS capable of storing up to 1000 waypoints.

There’s a look that Garmin says has been inspired by special operations and law enforcement, and that’s pretty clear from the black almost-ominous design, but while it’s black with a carbon coating to stop scratches, the screen is still colour, relying on the same platform as the Garmin Fenix.


This one’s a totally different model, mind you, but if you fancy your smartwatch to look black, beefy, and industrial grade, you’ll find the Garmin Tactix Bravo in stores around the same time as the other two CES announcements, hitting February for a recommended retail price of $1099.