[Above: Bode Merrill put the MFI integrated facemask to the test]
Ever had one of those conversations about some far-fetched, non-existent tech that could massively enhance a day's shredding? You know, much like the way people watching Star Trek in the '60s thought about those amazing cordless communication devices that could fit in your pocket yet allow you to talk to people several miles away?
Alongside the fabled powder-generators and other such pieces of sci-fi-inspired gadgetry, you could at one time file goggles that use magnets to hold the lens in place, allowing for quick and hassle-free changes. These days, however, in the form of Anon's Magna-Tech range, they're as real as the possibility that the guy in the red jumper won't make it back to the Enterprise.
Their frames (and integrated facemasks) are used the world over, adorning the heads of backcountry chargers (Manuel Diaz, Annie Boulanger), and all-round killers (Brandon Cocard, Bode Merrill). You're also bound to have peeped them at the world's biggest events, worn by the likes of Anna Gasser, Ben Ferguson and Roope Tonteri.
So how did fantasy become reality, and what can we expect in the future? We asked Trevor Moore, Anon's Senior Product Manager, to fill us in:
How long have you worked with Anon?
I started my career at Burton Snowboards a little over 10 years ago in the Burlington, Vermont flagship store. After my first year, I moved over to the Anon product team and I’ve been helping people see better ever since!
How long did it take to get Magna-Tech from concept to production?
It took about two years to get to the release of the M1 goggle. During that development timeframe, we also created multiple solutions for fit and visibility, which led to our second Magna-Tech design for the M2 (a larger, frameless goggle style) followed by the women’s specific WM1 and the cylindrical M3. The M2 remains the benchmark for the Magna-Tech collection and continues to drive the direction for future models.
The first question most people ask about Magna-tech goggles is how the lenses can be so easy to change, but still secure enough not to pop out in a slam. How did you manage this?
Because Anon was the first brand in the snow accessories industry to use magnets as the primary component of a quick lens change system, we performed extensive tests during the research and development of this technology. We tested different types and sizes of magnets, lens carrier / frame interactions, best design practices for retention and fastest speed during lens changes. In addition, we spec’d premium materials for quality and durability.
How was the Magna-Tech technology tested? Did you involve the Anon pro team in the process?
While lab testing can tell us a lot, real world on-snow testing is a must. We utilise a diverse product testing team as well as our pro snowboard and ski athletes globally. Because our athletes are on snow more days than anyone and they truly put our product to the test, their involvement in the process is paramount.
We heard there’s a potential issue with keeping your goggles near your avalanche transceiver. Can you please clarify this?
There are many kinds of transceivers on the market using various technologies. We always advise consumers to read and understand all the information supplied with transceiver instructions as those instructions will state clearly the effects magnets may have on that particular transceiver.
[Above: Annie Boulanger rocking the WM1 goggle with Magna-Tech]
How was the integrated facemask developed?
The idea behind MFI (Magnetic Facemask Integration) came about during the R&D of Magna-Tech. After my idea of a magnetic lens system took shape, another Burton employee came to me with an idea of attaching a facemask to the goggle frame with the notion that it would prevent you from breathing hot, moisture-rich air into your goggles – which often happens with every other off-the-shelf facemask. This idea started by using plugs that snapped into the frame to hold the mask in place. This handmade prototype sparked the idea for me to put two Magna-Tech proto magnets on my desk next to each other. When I pushed one magnet towards the other until they snapped together, my co-worker and I looked at each other and decided at that moment, a new technology was born.
Are you working on applying Magna-Tech to other products in the Burton/Anon range?
Nowadays there is a full array of integrated product compatibility solutions laying around my desk so yeah, there is some pretty cool stuff on the horizon and you’ll just have to stay tuned to see what it is!
[Below: The Anon snowboarding team get some R&D hours in]