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Recon Instruments begins shipping long-awaited smart sunglass

Published April 16, 2015

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BRAIN) — After multiple delays, Recon Instruments has begun shipping its heads-up display sunglasses for the sports market. The Recon Jet is built for active outdoor use and provides information just below the user's right eye and connects to wearable sensors and smartphones. Recon calls the Jet an advanced wearable computer.

Recon also announced Thursday that Outdoor Gear Canada will be its exclusive Canadian distributor to the sporting goods trade.

The Jet displays a full range of metrics including speed, pace, distance, duration, vertical elevation gain. Heart rate and cadence metrics can be accessed in real time by connecting it to a third-party device via ANT+. When paired with a smartphone, users see caller ID and text messages. The glass also has a built-in camera that shoots 15-second HD video as well as still images. A user's stats can be uploaded to thir- party data tracking services and apps such as Strava, Training Peaks, MapMyFitness and others.

"With the Jet shipping today, we've achieved a huge milestone: delivering on an idea first conceived in 2008, when Recon was founded," said Dan Eisenhardt, CEO of Recon Instruments. "The product is about more than real-time data delivery. We've addressed the entire in-activity experience, coordinating performance metrics, smartphone connectivity, video and photo capture, social interactions, and instant content sharing in its design."

A customizable dashboard lets users tailor their sunglass display to show the information that matters the most to them.

"We're launching Jet with a feature set built for runners and cyclists, but the opportunity to extend Jet's utility into completely new use cases is enormous," Eisenhardt added.

The Recon Jet is built on an open platform, so developers can create apps for any activity. Apps that power recreational sailing, performance yacht racing, shooting and private aviation are in development, company officials said.

The company contracted with Flextronics, a $26 billion company with 200,000 employees and offices in 30 countries and one of the largest fitness wearables manufacturers. The Recon Jet is being assembled at Flextronics' San Jose, Calif., campus. The company said it chose U.S. manufacturing to shorten its time to market, have better control over quality and design, and because of the Jet's product complexity.

Final assembly of the glass must take place in an FDA-certified facility, for example.

San Jose is also a two-hour flight from Recon's Vancouver headquarters, making it an easy trip for the company's designers and engineers.

Aside from several factories in the U.S., Flextronics also has facilities in China and Mexico, and once demand for the Recon Jet reaches a certain level — above 100,000 units — manufacturing will be offshored to one of Flextronics' other facilities.

Recon is fulfilling pre-orders first. The Recon Jet will be sold at running, bike, triathlon and outdoor stores, at, and direct on Recon's website. It will retail for $699.

A network of independent sales reps will handle distribution. And the company has already contracted with reps in Southern and Northern California, Texas, Florida and will be adding reps in the Tri-State, Rocky Mountain, Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest regions.

Dealers in regions not served by a Recon rep can email to apply for dealership.

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