Swimmers’ wearables have unique design challenges. They suffer all the requirements of a general tracker – light weight, long battery life, and most importantly, high accuracy – but they also need to fit in a waterproof package that’s easy to read in the water. They need to recognize different strokes and their length, and wirelessly relay this info from inside a thick case and several feet of water. The Swimmerix, now on Kickstarter, has some pretty cool ways of meeting those goals.
To start, the product’s designers went with a two-part design instead of a singularly wrist-worn setup. The Swimmerix’s IP68 waterproof base mounts to the wall of the pool, and the swimmer wears a watch-like wristband. In theory, this should translate to higher accuracy as measurements like speed and distance are made between the two points (the wristband and the base).
The “base” or the Swimmerix hardware itself, covers heart rate, number of laps and strokes, time, distance, and calories, as well as your SWOLF — an efficiency score based on the number of strokes and time needed to cross the pool. Unfortunately, the two part system also means that this device isn’t going to work for open water swimming, but the added accuracy and ease of use could be a boon to pool swimmers.
Swimmerix’s app acts as a trainer, analyzing the data and bouncing back instructions in real-time. It will tell a swimmer to pick up the pace, if that’s the aim of the set program. With each finished lap, the wristband will blink in colors indicating what to do (speed up, slow down, keep going, or stop). This color-coded display system is particularly clever, since a small series of numbers would likely be difficult to read, especially in water on a moving wrist.
Data is stored in the cloud for later review via the Swimmerix iOS and Android app. That’s also where swimmers choose their workout. Pick a goal, like weight loss or endurance, and the app will suggest a training program. For instance, the “endurance” workout will blink at the wearer to keep them at about 65-75 percent max heart rate, keeping a medium pace between 15-25 strokes for every 25 meters, for 35 laps (of 25 meters each) assuming a 40 to 50 minute duration.
During the Kickstarter campaign, Swimmerix kits with a charger and wall mount are going for as low as $100 in a variety of colors and prints, down from the $170 expected retail. The campaign is seeking a little less than $35,000 with an end date of Thursday, March 10, with delivery expected in October 2016.