Garmin’s new Varia Vision is a HUD for cyclists that could end up saving lives

Andy Boxall
Digital Trends

The Varia Vision is Garmin’s latest product in its growing range of cool tech made for cyclists. The Google Glass-style wearable is one of the most exciting and innovative heads-up displays (HUDs) we’ve seen yet, mainly due to its ability to connect with Garmin’s radar-like alert system to warn wearers of approaching traffic from behind. Unlike Glass, however, Varia Vision is a super lightweight add-on for existing glasses, making it very versatile.

It weighs just under 30 grams, and is controlled with a touch panel on the arm, one that’s sensitive enough to be used while wearing gloves or when your fingers are wet. The Varia Vision’s main component is a small screen fitted to an adjustable arm, adding a heads-up display to whatever eyewear you already own and ensuring your eyes are always looking ahead and not down at a handlebar-mounted phone.

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The display shows turn-by-turn navigation, performance statistics, notifications from your phone, and other ride-related data. However, it’s the cool rearview radar that could make Varia Vision a lifesaver. When connected to the Varia Radar — which was announced earlier this year and attaches to the back of your bike — it shows alerts based on approaching traffic from behind, making the rider considerably more aware of any potential dangers. Prior to the Varia Vision, the radar connected to a handlebar display. The system also features a weather-proof build and an ambient light sensor designed to make sure the display remains visible during changing conditions. Furthermore, a mobile app renders it compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows 10.

Related: Garmin’s Forerunner tracks every running stat you can imagine

This extremely cool piece of wearable tech does come at a steep price, though. The Varia Vision will cost $400 when it intially goes on sale before the end of March, plus you’ll need to purchase the Varia radar system if you don’t already own it, which amounts to at least another $200. Still, it’s a small price to pay if it makes you safer on the road.

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