Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Course Swimming Goggles

You know that I love gadgets, especially ones that help me improve my performance (or, at least, make me think that they help me improve my performance). If only these had been invented in 2011 when I did the Ironman in Florianopolis, Brazil. This is the swim I actually did compared to the course I should have taken:

I put my Garmin 310XT GPS watch in my swim cap to get a fairly accurate track and I set it to beep every kilometer, so that I would have some idea of how much longer the torture was going to last. According to my watch, I swam 4.52 kilometers (instead of the 3.8 of the Ironman distance) thanks to taking a slightly roundabout route - at one point I even crashed into someone coming in the opposite direction (no prizes for spotting where). In the middle of the "M" we were allowed back on land, briefly, only to submerge ourselves once more. To put this in perspective, had I taken the perfect route, I would have saved 12 minutes!

Someone (disclosure: a friend of a friend) has invented a pair of swimming goggles that warn you if you veer off course. You simply look at the buoy you are heading for, press a button on the goggles (apparently they are planning for the goggles to recognize a signature head movement instead of a button press) and then the goggles indicate using a simple system of blinking LED lights whether you should go off slightly more to the left or to the right. It doesn't use cumbersome GPS technology, just the good old fashioned magnetic field of the Earth to guide you. I expect that all the clever bits are in the algorithm that works out your general heading while (at least in my case) you are writhing and thrashing your way through the water.

The designers clearly have triathlons and open water swimming competitions in mind and have already obtained confirmation from official bodies such as USA Triathlon that they will be permitted and not considered "cheating". They have also already filed patents so, if a giant like Garmin decides to snap them up (Sight 'n' Go Goggles?), it will be done the right way.

The Kickstarter campaign is underway RIGHT NOW, so if you have similar navigational skills as myself and are thinking of taking part in a triathlon - or even if you just want to support a great idea - head on over to their Kickstarter page. Remember, you saw it here first!

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic information, Thank you!