Recon Empire EVS smart paintball mask highlights Intel's wearable ambitions

CES 2016: HUD mask is just one of a number of new Intel innovations
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Wearable technology is evolving at a rapid rate and new genres are cropping up every day. We've got smartwatches, fitness trackers, running assistants, VR headsets, connected textiles and smart jewellery to name a few.

However, until now, we didn't have a smart paintball mask.

Luckily, Recon has plugged that obvious gap in the market with the Empire EVS – the world's first smart paintball mask.

Much like Recon Jet sunglasses, the Empire EVS provides HUD visuals for real time metrics. But instead of showing display speed, pace and distance, the info is paitball related – so think ammunition counts, field maps, and teammate locations.

Located in the bottom right of the mask, the Empire EVS actually packs the Recon Snow2 HUD tech – so that's a LCD display that appears as a 14-inch screen from 5-feet away. It packs a dual core 1GHz CPU and connects using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is, of course, GPS on board for location accuracy.

"The Empire EVS showcases the versatility of Recon heads-up display technology," said Tom Fowler from Head Worn Devices, Intel.

"Through our collaboration with Empire, which involved the development of paintball-specific software for Snow2's Android-based operating system, we were able to bring the benefits of instant, direct-to-eye information delivery to an entirely new group of customers. Our open software development kit (SDK) allows any third-party developer to extend the capabilities of Recon devices in this manner."

And there's the real reason the EVS exists. Don't forget that Intel acquired Recon back in June 2015.

The silicone giant is pushing wearable tech in a big, big way – and not just by providing processors for smartwatches (although it does that as well).

Intel's big wearable ambitions

Ultimately, Intel wants to democratise building wearables so it's not all about fitness or do-everything smartwatches.

"You have to cater to a wider range of people," Ayse Ildeniz, Intel's VP of New Devices, told Wareable last year. "You need to be able to enrich somebody's life in India, you need to make a difference to someone's life in rural China and somebody who lives in San Francisco like me."

Intel has demoed a huge range of wearable tech products, from the Opening Ceremony MICA to the Tag Heuer Connected, to a smart bra powered by the affordable, button-sized Curie module.

And it's been super busy boasting about its wearable ambitions at CES 2016. As well as New Balance and Fossil announcing new connected timepieces powered by Intel, it also detailed real time professional sport analysis using Curie, snowboards packing the module and a new pair of connected specs from Oakley.

Check out the video above for the full lowdown from the CES 2016 keynote.

Intel is buying into the wearable revolution in a big way – it will be fascinating to see what devices and platforms evolve in 2016.

Recon Empire EVS smart paintball mask highlights Intel's wearable ambitions

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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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