Getting lost can be scary. Getting lost in open water can be terrifying. Swimmers around the world have issues staying on course in both races and independent practice, but with the new OnCourse Goggles, a virtual pathway could soon be available to outdoor athletes. I’ve spoken with the creators about their intuitive new technology…

By Phoebe Vowles-Webb

Going astray in a wide expanse of water can be very dangerous, and your energy and body heat can quickly diminish if you’re pulled off course by underwater currents. Many swimmers also suffer from anxiety due to the wildness of their environment; there are no lights, no beacons and sometimes no buoys to guide them, so swimmers have to tread precariously between training sessions and real danger.

An inside view of OnCourse Goggles. LEDs flash with different colours to indicate your course
An inside view of OnCourse Goggles. LEDs flash with different colours to indicate your course

But these goggles don’t only tell you when you are veering off course, but how far you have swerved from your destination. They do this through a series of LED lights – green for on course, yellow for slightly veering off course, and red for veering off further. OnCourse Goggles also compensate for wind and currents, before adjusting the directions to your destination. OnCourse Goggles are activated by just looking at your destination and clicking a button. You reset the destination by just clicking again. If you go too far off course, the goggles alert you to set a new destination. Its creators are even working on a model that allows you to set destinations with just a head gesture.

Despite the naysayers, we pressed on over the course of the past year of product development and accomplished what most people claimed was impossible.” Oncourse Goggles creators Denisse and Peter.

It all sounds like it could involve a lot of wires and heavy equipment around your head, but the OnCourse Goggles creators did not stop developing this technology until the goggles were as simple as possible on the outside, despite being functionally complicated on the inside. They’re soft and comfortable, with a good field of vision, and are UV protected. They also come with an anti-fog coating that stops the lenses misting up in early morning swims. Even if you didn’t have to use the virtual pathway option, these goggles are excellent for swimmers.

Point. Click. Swim. OnCourse are currently raising money through Kickstarter
Point. Click. Swim. OnCourse are currently raising money through Kickstarter

This is important: The time saved by the use of our product can exceed 15% and that increase in performance far offsets any perceived loss of performance due to the use of the push-button while changing course.”

When I spoke to creators Denisse and Peter, they stated that on top of helping swimmers stay safe, the goggles will help beat their own personal records and improve their swimming. The occasional requirement to press a button is a small price to pay compared with having to zig-zag across strange waters. The goggles “remain steady and accurate when you turn your head to breathe or lift you head out of the water”, so you won’t be experiencing LED flashes whenever you front crawl.

Not only will swimmers be safer and feel more secure, but they can train and compete with more confidence, with less distractions to keep them from beating personal records and racing. Funds are currently being raised through Kickstarter, as demand for this product will probably exceed OnCourse Goggles’ ability to supply. Now that the goggles are tested and approved, the creators of the technology intend to extend their production. Soon swimmers across the globe will be benefiting from this intuitive, wearable, device.

Written by Malek Murison

Malek Murison is a freelance tech journalist working closely with clients in the drone industry.

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