Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two Kinds of Google Goggles

google goggles

It appears that Google is in the goggle business (in more ways than one). The first, and more well-known type of Google Goggles is the search function that allows you to use your mobile device camera to search for logos, locations, products, and landmarks just by snapping a picture!

google goggles

Check out this video from GoogleMobile that demonstrates how the Google Goggles work:

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could just put on a pair of magic glasses and instantly find out more about the world around you!”

I’ve tried it out, and although the technology is still young, it’s still fun to see what comes up in this new form of augmented reality.

Not the kind of goggles you had in mind? Well, you may be interested to discover that Google might be getting into a more tangible form of goggle products. According to this article, Google has acquired a patent for a “multi-function display apparatus” that includes a method of calculating heart rate, lap, and position that is then “transmitted into the wearer’s field of view by means of a fiber optic element and projected at a focal point within the focusing range of the wearer’s eyes” (source).

The patent was originally granted to inventor Harry Linden in 1996. More research into Harry Linden’s inventions reveal a product called Time Window that displays information on an LCD screen inside a goggle lens. However, this idea seems to be old news as “Linden’s company is working with fiber optics to create a system that essentially transmits the image formerly confined to the LCD directly onto the lens surface of goggles or eyewear. The image is transparent so as not to interfere with wearers’ vision” (source).

google goggles

Could this be the technology covered in the patent that Google acquired? The description certainly seems to include transmitting information via fiber optics into the goggle field.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy 2-Year Blog Anniversary To Me!

Two years of Kast-A-Way Blog! Whew! My first official blog post went up January 12, 2009. Since my Blogiversary happens to align with the calendar year, here are some highlights from 2010:

Most Viewed Posts

#1 – British Diver Tom Daley and Kate Moss In Italian Vogue
Tom Daley and Kate Moss Italian Vogue

#2 – First Look: 2010 Speedo LZR Racer Elite & LZR Racer Pro
Speedo LZR racer elite and lzr racer pro

#3 – Norwegian Scuba Divers Chase Down Google Earth Van

My Favorite Photoshopping

Swimming Hero Magazines

Most Fun To Write

Is The LZR Racer Elite Really Worth It

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nose Piece Lineup & Pick a Swimmer’s Nose Quiz

pick a swimmer nose quiz and goggle nose piece

Let’s see how much you’ve learned from my last post: Fitting Goggles for a

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fitting Goggles for a “Roman” Nose: Women’s Vanquishers vs. Speed Socket

roman nose goggles speedo women's vanquishers and speed socket

Last weekend I was working the retail booth in Bowling Green, OH. After successfully fitting a few swimmers with new goggles, I got something of a reputation at the meet. Yep, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then a swim mom came up to me complaining about her “trouble child” when it comes to finding goggles that fit right. I laughed with confidence, no face is too troublesome for me to fit!

Her daughter came over with a red mark on the bridge of her nose where her goggles had been rubbing. She didn’t have a particularly large nose, but she definitely had a high bridge typical of a “roman” nose. I was taken aback by the fact that the Women’s Vanquishers (Wo Vanq’s for short) weren’t working out, because those are the universal go-to pair for most teen girls.

women's vanquisher and socket rocket speedo goggles

I looked through the rack for a pair of goggles that would fit a “roman” nose, and found the Speed Sockets. A side-by-side comparison revealed a major difference in the nose piece.

speedo women's vanquisher goggles

Notice how the nose piece on the Women’s Vanquishers curves away from the nose but draws a straight line between the lenses.

speedo speed socket goggles

The nose piece on the Speed Socket goggles curves away from the nose, but also curves vertically up and over the high bridge of a “roman” nose. Success!

The lesson? If your goggles dig into the bridge of your nose, the Speed Sockets are definitely worth a try!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What Is Goggle Rot? Visualizing Polymer Degradation

Have you heard the term goggle rot? It’s when the elasticity is sucked from your goggle straps and gaskets, and you’re left with crumbly, brittle, easy-to-snap goggles (scientifically speaking). Let’s take a closer look at goggle rot, its cousin polymer degradation, and how to avoid inviting these unwanted visitors to the goggle party.

goggle rot

Goggle rot was easy to find on this 9-year-old pair of Speedo Sprint goggles I found in an old swim bag. Look for goggle rot on the rubbery straps, it will appear as tiny imperfections or notches along the edge of the rubber. Goggle rot becomes even more apparent when you pull on the strap. Stretch it out, and you’ll notice the little tooth marks in the rubber get deeper. Also, look for brittle, stiff rubber that holds its shape – give this section a pull and it should snap cleanly in two.

goggle rot

Goggle rot is a form of polymer degradation, which is a change in the properties (tensile strength, colour, shape) of a polymer of polymer-based product (Wiki). It is caused by a variety of environmental factors such as heat (or rapid changes in heat), light (specifically exposure to ultraviolet light), or chemicals (acids, bases, salts, and gases).

Without knowing the specific composition of goggle straps, it is difficult to tell which factor of polymer degradation is to blame – ozonolysis, however, is a likely candidate. We can assume that goggle straps fall within the polymer classification of elastomers because they have viscoelasticity properties, and elastomers are particularly vulnerable to degradation by ozone naturally present in small amounts in the air.

Compare this image of natural rubber that has undergone ozonolysis to the photos I took of goggle rot:

ozonolysis goggle rot

According to Wikipedia, cracks in the rubber caused by ozonolysis always oriented at right angles to the strain axis. Notice how the “teeth mark” tears in the goggle strap always cut into the rubber perpendicular to the direction of the stretch.

Based on what I have gleaned from Wikipedia while writing this article, I would advise keeping goggles away from prolonged exposure to chlorine (however contradictory that is for swimmers), and keeping them out of cars that heat up during the summer (avoid extreme changes in temperature). But unless you plan to keep your goggles in an air-tight box, it’s impossible to avoid all types of polymer degradation occurring in goggle straps. Silicone is more resistant to Ozone and UV light, which is probably why manufacturers have switched to these materials for newer goggles like Speedo Vanquishers and TYR Tracer goggles.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spray-on Liquid Glass Is The Transparent, Non-Toxic, Waterproofing, Stain-proofing, Sterilizing, Breathable, Flexible, Nanotech Wonder Product!

liquid glass spray

An article on (found via @DotSauce) reports that the invention of a liquid-glass spray is the most important nanotechnology breakthrough to date! According to the summary on, the liquid glass spray “is transparent, non-toxic, and can protect virtually any surface against almost any damage from hazards such as water, UV radiation, dirt, heat, and bacterial infections” (source). It is breathable, flexible, and only around 100 nanometers thick (15-30 molecules).

Liquid glass (officially known as

Friday, December 18, 2009

Optical Goggles: Do I Need A Prescription?

This is a customer service question I get quite often (apparently everyone’s eyes are just as bad as mine). Do I need a prescription for optical (corrective) goggles? In short: No.

In long: let’s further explore the corrective lens branch of the goggle family tree. “Prescription goggles” are goggles that are custom made to fill the prescription of a swimmer. “Optical goggles” are ready-made goggles with corrective lenses that swimmers can buy from brand-name manufacturers.

Optical goggles vary in corrective lens power, and are identified by a diopter number. A diopter is “a unit of measurement of the refractive power of lenses equal to the reciprocal of the focal length measured in meters.” The higher the number, the more powerful the lens is.

All of the diopter numbers available in goggles are negative numbers ranging from -1.00 to -8.0 or so. Optical goggles are only made with negative diopters because these lenses correct for myopia (nearsightedness: can’t see things far away). In swimming, you don’t really need goggles to correct for hyperopia (farsightedness), unless you want to use your goggles as reading glasses.

optical or prescription goggles

How do you select the right diopter value? Well you don’t need a prescription, so just select the pair that adequately clears up your vision. The diopter number will also correspond to the diopter value of your contact lenses. Now, because these goggles are ready-made, you can’t order mixed strength lenses. For example, if you are -1.5 in your right eye, and -2.0 in your left eye (like me!) you’d be better off just buying the -2.0 optical goggles to make sure you’re covered.

If you need to switch the lenses out to customize the strength of each eye, you could always buy two pairs and then swap out one lens from each – that way you’ll have the correct power for each eye AND a backup pair.

Kast-A-Way Swimwear carries several types of optical goggle. Our most popular are the Vanquisher Optical, Jr. Vanquisher Optical, and Tracer Optical.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tip For Swim Parents: Get To Know The Goggle Monster

goggle monster

He’s the main reason you pack a spare pair, check and double check your bag before you head to the pool, and sit three meters away from anyone else on the bleachers. Sooner or later, no matter how careful you are, the goggle monster will snatch up your lucky pink Socket Rockets and turn your Optical Vanquishers into Optical Vanishers.

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