Form’s smart goggles now work with GPS smartwatches to track open-water swims

Form is releasing an update today for its smart augmented reality swim goggles that enable them to pair over Bluetooth to selected GPS smartwatches, allowing users to track their swims in real time in open water, not just in swimming pools.

The $199 Form goggles were released last year, and offered a unique method of tracking swimming metrics by using motion sensors and an AR display built into the goggles itself. But the system — while clever enough to work independently from a smartphone — was still limited to only tracking laps in pools where you already knew the size and distance you were traveling, using the onboard sensors and algorithms to figure out when you turned at the end of a lap or stopped.

The new update changes that, though, by connecting the goggles with an Apple Watch or Garmin smartwatch with GPS, allowing users to get the same real-time swim metrics (for things like distance, stroke count, calories, and more) while swimming in open water. The goggles can also show additional information pulled from the paired watch, like your current heart rate, something they were unable to do before.

The dot-matrix display won’t show you any AR maps, unfortunately, although like with the regular pool mode, completed swims in open water will sync back from the goggles to the Form app when you’re back by your phone (with the additional GPS and heart rate data), allowing for serious swimmers to analyze their swim results and see the full map of where they swam.

The company recommends that users wear their smartwatch on the same side of their body as the display portion of the goggles for the best Bluetooth connectivity between the devices. It also notes that for optimal connectivity, swimmers are recommended to swim freestyle.

The new GPS and heart rate tracking works with the Garmin Forerunner 945, fēnix 6 Pro, fēnix 5 Plus, along with the Apple Watch Series 3, Series 4, and Series 5. Using the new features requires updating the goggles to the newly released firmware, and then installed the companion Garmin or Apple Watch app on your smartwatch.

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