New wearable fitness coach for skiers

ski-coachThe last year has seen an increasing number of wearable devices that don’t just track our exercise but offer feedback on our form.

I’ve written previously about apps such as MoovNow, which offers smart coaching via its wristband technology, and the Loughborough University based Lumo Run clothing range that does a similar job via athletic clothing.

Or you have the recent partnership between IBM and Under Armour, with the Watson system built into the clothing sold by UA.

Smart skiing

Most of these technologies have been for quite mainstream sports such as cycling, swimming and golf.  A team from Imperial have developed a device for skiers to track and monitor their performance.

Their device, which they’ve called Carv, aims to give the level of coaching and feedback that is typically only available to top level skiers.

Carv consists of an insert that is placed inside the boot and a tracking device that is clipped onto the body.  Carv then measures both the motion of the skier and the pressure distribution on the skies, providing the skier with real-time feedback through earphones.

This data is also sent wirelessly to a smartphone so that the data can be analyzed after the run, with information ranging from actionable feedback to detailed metrics.

The device is currently raising money on Kickstarter, where they also hope to develop an initial audience for the product.

“Kickstarter is an amazing platform that’s really opened up funding for products like this.” the founders say, “As we’ve launched it we’ve found this whole community of people engaging with us and evangelising about Carv. We’ve found there’s a big consumer following for it as well as the demand coaching community we expected.”

In addition to raising money on Kickstarter, they’re continuing to develop the app, with a pressure sensor currently under development that uses 48 sensors in each foot to accurately map the pressure and movement of the skier.

The fundraising is currently massively over-subscribed, with the $50,000 target comfortably exceeded in around a week.  The device will go on sale for $250, with extra functionality via the apps available for an annual subscription of $100.

You can find out more about Carv via the video below.

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7 thoughts on “New wearable fitness coach for skiers

  1. If you crash it should start yelling in your ear, "you just ate shit! Your gear is everywhere, it's like a god damn yard sale on the slope!"

  2. Ski instructor here. I recently saw data from what I assume was a similar device from the US ski team. When pressure fore/aft was plotted over time the skier who won a race was able to progressively move their center of mass through out a turn (think smooth curve). Another racer who ended up further back in the placing had more abrupt movement and had less range of motion (spikey graph).

    The prospects of being able to use a device to get similar data and active feedback while skiing excites me. Part of the difficulty with making changes to movement patterns is feedback is often delayed. I am a kinesthetic learner so being able to feel something and know I'm making a change will hopefully be a huge boost to my ability to improve my skiing.

  3. I can see this as being an interesting coaching tool. If the execution is good, I bet they'll be successful as a business either on their own or bought out by someone else. But what's more, I can see a lot of rich old guys dropping money on it without thinking twice… especially if it's marketed in the $100-200 range.

  4. I was just looking at another device the other day called Trace snow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxBRNLFNb8Q). It's a 9 sensor tracker for $200 that you throw on your skis. It shows speed, altitude, all your runs, jump time, distance and height. It also syncs to your gopro and auto edits clips to eliminate having to go through hours of footage.

    It used to be just a free app and it did it all the metrics for free but now you have to get the $200 add on to attach to your skis to get the jump metrics.

    I think this type of technology is the next big tech thing for action sports. Basically the Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, etc… for runners but the new trackers will be much smaller and track much more.

    $200 just seems too expensive for a tracker. I like the boot idea for sure. It will be exciting to see where these go.

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