Category Archives: sport

X2 Underwater Jetpack by Supermarinovation at Gadget Show Live



SupermarinovationEasily the best thing at Gadget Show Live, the Supermarinovation x2 is a “wearable personal underwater propulsion device” but it’s much more fun thinking of the x2 as an underwater jetpack. With only three main components – two arm-mounted thruster units and a battery backpack – the x2 brings Superman-like flight to swimmers and free divers. Shown as part of the British Inventors’ Project, Chris tells me about the x2 and its development from idea to product.

x2 Sport Underwater Jet Pack

Aimed at swimmers and snorkellers, the idea is to get down to the interesting bits of the ocean as quickly as possible to get as much bottom time before having to pop back up for air. With the two power units at full pelt, the x2 propels a swimmer at around 7 mph, which is fast for a person underwater. Playtime is about an hour, though this is more reflective of the swimmer’s capabilities rather than the x2 going flat out, and it’ll be depth rated down to 10m (33 feet). Most reefs are well within this depth.

The outer shells are all 3D printed and a small number of advanced prototypes have been sold with a full launch of the x2 anticipated later in the year. Prices are expected to be around GB£4,000 for the x2 Sport and £8,000 for the Pro version. I’ll take two for my superyacht.

Since Gadget Show Live, a new x2 has been announced, the x2 Compact, which attaches the propulsion units directly to the back battery pack. A fourth product called the Hammerhead is in the works too, which is held in front with both hands and then pulls the swimmer along. Check out the renders in the Facebook links above.


Stebles Carbon-Fibre Bike at Gadget Show Live



Stebles LogoContinuing GNC’s coverage of the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live, I met Mark of Stebles Bikes and his interesting road bicycle with carbon-fibre mudguards integrated into the bike frame. Mark tells me more about his new design and the problem it’s trying to solve.

As an enthusiastic cyclist himself, the thinking behind Mark’s idea was “more riding, less cleaning”. Often keen riders have two bikes, one with mudguards for rainy days and one without for better weather. Obviously it’s expensive to have two good bikes, so why not have one bike with streamlined, lightweight mudguards?

Stebles Bike

Mark used 3D printing to create the initial prototypes and the next stage is to produce the necessary aluminium molds for the frame parts. It’s an expensive business so Mark has a GoFundMe campaign if you want to support him and get the project to the next stage.

Looking to the future, a British-made version of the bike is likely to cost around GB£5,000 but Mark aims to get this cost down to make the bike affordable to wider range of riders.


BikeDeck Stores and Transports Bicycles for Modern Living at Gadget Show Live



BikeDeck LogoToday’s apartments and smaller houses aren’t always conducive to bicycle ownership. Bikes don’t stay upright, handlebars mark walls and transporting them can be awkward. They’re all wheels and finger-nips. Mark and Julie’s BikeDeck looks to solve these problems and I chat with him as part of the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live.

The BikeDeck is a free-standing bicycle storage and transport platform. It holds the bike in a upright, free-standing position or the BikeDeck can be hung on a wall (from a suitably strong hook). BikeDeck keeps the bike ready for transport as it can be wheeled it along like a trolley suitcase or lifted easily into a car.

It works with any bike which has quick release wheels, and with practice, an owner can get the bike onto the BikeDeck in around a minute. Almost any frame size can be accommodated as the BikeDeck’s sliding system adjusts to length.

BikeDeck

Currently in the prototype stage, BikeDeck is looking for partners to bring the product to the market.


Bittium Designs Wearables at WTS



Bittium LogoLet’s say that you are a major manufacturer of sportswear and you need an activity tracker to keep up with the market. You’ve no experience in electronics or wearables, so what do you do? If you’re Adidas, you turn to Bittium and get the professionals on the job. Martti, Senior Specialist at Bittium, takes Andrew through the company’s offering.

Finnish firm Bittium are a technology design house, specialising in connectivity solutions, from 4G base stations to mobile phones, IoT and wearables. Bittium will take an idea for a product and develop it to a finished product, including physical design, hardware and software.

Here’s the tracker that Bittium did for Adidas, the MiCoach Smart Run.  It’s a few years old now (2013) but it’s interesting to hear the development story.

Bittium Adidias


TomTom’s Golfer 2 GPS Watch at WTS



TomTom LogoTomTom are well know for their in-car navigation devices with over 75 million of them sold since 2004, including specialised variants for motorbikes and trucks. Building on their success with GPS, TomTom has launched wearable devices for runners and golfers. Tom tells Andrew all about the company’s latest developments.

TomTom GolferAnnounced at the Wearable Technology Show, the new TomTom Golfer 2 is a GPS watch designed to help golfers improve their game by using automatic shot detection for detailed post-round analysis at the nineteenth hole. Incredibly, the Golfer 2 has knowledge of over 40,000 courses worldwide. It will cost 249 € when released in May.

Although not a brand-new product, I was impressed by the TomTom Bandit, an action cam with a killer feature. After a fast off-piste descent down a mountain, just shake the Bandit and it will assemble a highlight clip in minutes using sensor data to figure out the most exciting parts of skiing. As Tom mentions in the interview, the pain of video editing is one of the main reasons action cam owners don’t use their cameras. The Bandit costs from GB£269. I want one!

(Apologies to Tom – the last part of the interview didn’t record properly)


Vert Brings Athletic Tracking to a New Level



Vert LogoIn the world of professional athletics, stats are everything. Not just the typical stats that fans might see like hits or points scored. But in-depth numbers about things like pitch counts and jump heights. Traditionally, this kind of information was difficult to obtain. But technology company Vert is working to change that.

Nick met with Martin Matak, the founder and president of Vert. Martin’s company has designed a small, wearable chip that tracks all kind of athletic data. The Vert platform can record pitch counts, play intensity, and more. Vert also tracks “effort,” taking into account how much a player has done in a specific amount of time. The Vert clip can be worn with an integrated belt designed specifically for Vert or the clip can be incorporated into a player’s existing uniform/clothing. Vert clips are currently on the market for $125 and they work with a mobile app that can be downloaded for free.

Nick DiMeo is an audio engineer and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Gymwatch Fitness Tracker and Coach at CES



GymwatchFitness trackers have been around from a couple of years and they’re beginning to evolve from simply measuring steps and reps to coaching for improved performance. Jamie and Nick get a demo by Fabian Walke to show how the Gymwatch exemplifies that next stage in evolution.

The main difference between Gymwatch and other activity trackers is that it’s designed to be moved around the body to accurately measure the activity. Goes on the arm for arm exercises, on the leg for leg exercises. For the coaching, the Gymwatch reports to a companion app that not only counts the activity but also provides feedback to the wearer as to whether they’re doing the exercise correctly or not. Perhaps the wearer is overextending or perhaps they’re not doing enough: whatever it is, the Gymwatch will advise how to correct the exercise.

The Gymwatch is available now for US$149. Fabian says $99 in the interview but it’s $149 on the Gymwatch website.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Digital Ski with AR Goggles at CES



There are all kinds of fitness and sports trackers coming onto the market, from the generalists like Fitbit through to the specialists for single sports, like basketball or baseball. Digital Ski is in the latter category, bringing specialist sensors to both downhill and cross-country skiing. Dr Hermann Schindler of HS Innovations shows Jamie and Nick what’s possible with two sensors instead of one.

skiUnlike most sports trackers, Digital Ski uses two intercommunicating sensors, one for each ski. The dual sensor approach brings the benefit of better motion analysis as with only one tracker, it’s not always easy to see if a motion was cause or caused.

Impressively, the sensor information is reported in real-time to the skier’s (augmented reality) googles which can show the skis’ movements and forces while in motion. There’s a German language video here which shows it off to good effect. Of course, there’s an app too for post-race analysis.

For runners, there’s Run Rockets, which uses a similar dual sensor strategy to provide data while on the hoof, as it were.

Digital Ski isn’t available for purchase yet but those interested can register on the website.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Kuai Biometric Headphones at CES



Kuai LogoActivity tracking wearables are commonplace but most are bracelet-style devices. Kuai have taken a different approach, incorporating sensors into sport headphones worn during physical activity. Jamie finds out more about the Kuai multisport biometric headphones from Carlos Marco, CEO and founder.

The headphones are earbuds with over-the-ear hooks to keep them in place during sport. The headphones have several sensors, including a heart rate monitor and an accelerator, and transmit the data to a nearby smartphone by Bluetooth. After calibration, training programmes can be loaded and adjusted to suit the individual. The smartphone app shows the usual statistics such as heart rate, calories burned, distance travelled and so on. The  app includes a coaching programme which can encourage the wearer “to go further” through the headphones. The headphones are waterproof too and there’s a selection of eartips for different situations, such as outdoors or swimming.

Kuai is taking pre-orders at US$149 for the headphones which will be available in April. The full retail price will be US$199 so get in early for a bargain.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.

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Motus Baseball Performance Tracker at CES



Motus LogoThe availability of detailed performance information for sportsmen and women is one of the big changes in recent years. From tennis to basketball, there’s almost certainly a smart device for the sport. Motus specialise in tracking baseball players, both pitchers and batters, with a new smart sensor. Todd and Marlo find out what it takes to knock one out of the park from Jason Lamendola of Motus.

Motus clip and sensorFor Motus, the new sensor that comes as part of MotusBASEBALL is a great improvement over the previous generation as it’s not only smaller with a longer battery life, but it now provides data whether the player is at the mound or the plate. The only difference is that pitchers wear a compression sleeve on their arm with the sensor fitting in a small pocket, whereas the sensor fits on the back of a batting glove.

With regards to reviewing the performance stats, there’s an app for that. In fact there’s two, one for batting (Motus Batting) and one for pitching (Motus Throw), though it seems the apps are only available for iOS. The apps provide a wealth of stats in real-time, allowing coaches to identify problems and avoid injury as it happens.

MotusBASEBALL with the new sensor is expected soon and the Motus site says “early February”. Once on sale, it will be priced at US$149 which is very affordable for coaches and keen players.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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