Companies are stepping up efforts to build a wider range of electronics — including articles of clothing — that can connect wirelessly to the Internet. The market for so-called connected devices, a broad category that includes smartphones, tablets and PCs, may surge to 1.84 billion units in 2016, more than double the figure for last year, according to research firm IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts.
“As an organization, we’ve been chasing this beast since 1997,” Baden said. “Ultimately, everything happens through your eyes, and the closer we can bring it to your eyes, the quicker the consumer is going to adopt the platform.”
Oakley would initially target athletes with products based on the so-called heads-up technology, Baden said. Oakley could develop a similar product for the U.S. military through Eye Safety Systems, a subsidiary that specializes in eyewear for military and government agencies, he said.
“Obviously, you can think of many applications in the competitive field of sports,” Baden said. “That’s the halo point of where we would begin, but certainly you can transcend that into a variety of other applications.”