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Goggles of the Future

Adapted by permission from an article which first appeared in Swim Magazine in 1997.

I was brainstorming with a couple of the R&D techno-weenies over at Polar Inc. (The heart rate monitor people) the other day. We came to the conclusion that the ultimate user interface for a heart rate monitoring system would be a “heads up” display that projects a continuous heart rate read-out into the swimmer's field of view. It would be much like the system that allows fighter pilots (and owners of some much-too-expensive cars) to see vital information without taking their eyes from the horizon. No more stopping to squint at a big, clunky, watch-like gizmo on your arm.

If we carry this concept a bit further its easy to imagine that goggles in the near future might provide the ideal place to display such other information as elapsed time, lap counts and splits, stroke count and stroke rate. In fact, with the advances in information delivery technologies its not out of the question to contemplate such displays as an NYSE ticker tape (delayed 15 minutes of course), a CNN feed and Seinfeld re-runs.

And why not virtual reality goggles that transform an otherwise mind numbing, repetitive, back and forth navigation of The Black Line into a pleasure cruise through the wildlife filled waters of Bermuda, Hawaii or the Virgin Islands?

Of course, technological advances notwithstanding, we'll most likely still be wrestling with straps, buckles, gaskets and nose pieces in an effort to keep the blasted things from leaking.

© H2Ouston Swims, Inc. 2000

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Emmett Hines is Director and Head Coach of H2Ouston Swims. He has coached competitive Masters swimming in Houston since 1981, was a Senior Coach for Total Immersion Swim Camps for many years, holds an American Swim Coaches Association Level 5 Certification, was selected as United States Masters Swimming’s Coach of the Year in 1993 and received the Masters Aquatic Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. He recently overhauled his popular book, Fitness Swimming (Human Kinetics, publishers) and the second edition was released mid-2008. Fitness Swimming has been published in French (entitled Natation, pub. by Vigot), Spanish (entitled Natacion, pub. by Hispano Europea), Chinese (entitled Jianshenyouyong), Portuguese (Natacao Para Condicionamento Fisico, pub. by Manole)  and, soon, in Turkish and Italian. Currently Coach Hines coaches the H2Ouston Swims Masters group in Houston, TX and works privately with many clients. He can be reached for questions or comments at 713-748-SWIM or via email.

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