Fitness trackers can be quite useful in understanding how good or bad a person’s performance is, on the field or during an activity. However, there are very few devices that are aimed at swimmers that are actually more helpful than simply counting the number of laps made in a swimming pool. While Apple Watch or similar smartwatches and fitness trackers do give an idea of a swimmer’s performance, it isn’t real-time feedback.
London based startup SwimAR wants to shake things up when it comes to underwater training. With its new holographic heads up display, it intends to deliver real-time metrics to swimmers without any need to pause training. This can help them understand their performance better, and in real-time. Here’s what you need to know about the new innovation by the startup that was years in the making.
What is SwimAR?
SwimAR is an augmented reality holographic display that helps swimmers see their training metrics in real-time. Before commencing swim training, one can determine their training set and the information required. While swimming, SwimAR projects the pre-selected data and progress into the line of sight. This means one doesn’t need to stop training to watch their lap timing or see their watch for metrics as it is always present at a glance.
Alongside showcasing regular metrics, the device’s notable feature is that it can be attached to regular goggles securely with flexible straps, which is quite useful since swimmers buy different types of goggles that suit their needs. The device is said to be lightweight, hydrodynamic module and it was developed in London by a team of product designers and creative engineers. The device was also updated recently to include GPS navigation. The feature helps swimmers to find their way in open waters.
How does SwimAR work?
As mentioned earlier, SwimAR uses a holographic display to augment information onto a user’s line of sight. The device uses Sony SmartEyeglass technology, which is touted to be a bright, high-resolution display. It tackles the problems in existing HUD devices like eye strain and limitations in fitting them onto headgears. Using accelerometer, gyrometer and GPS, the device is also capable of collecting data to calculate a swimmer’s pace over 100 meters, which is quite important for athletes and coaches.
The device is similar to Google Glass, sans eye strain issues and blurry vision. It also supports sending data over Bluetooth and so that it can be wirelessly downloaded and analysed.
How SwimAR built itself
The idea of SwimAR was conceived by the company’s creative engineer, Julian Swan, while training for a triathlon in 2010. The company was originally a part of London-based product design and creative engineering studio, The Imagination Factory. It investigated various technologies until they came across the Sony SmartEyeglass, which enabled them to go ahead with the project.
In 2017, the company created a hydrodynamic sealed case, which swimmers could use with their own goggles. This was a breakthrough development as in 2018, the core team established SwimAR as an independent business. In March 2018, the company showcased its SwimAR tech at the Wearable Technology Show in London and next month, it became a part of 10 start-ups to join an exclusive programme run by Digital Catapult.