Quantified selfers who are also surfers, skateboarders (or skiers/snowboarders) won’t be feeling so left out of the tracking trend if this Kickstarter campaign hits its funding goal. Trace is a monitoring device for action sports practitioners to catch data on every wave, turn, flip, landing and so on — and a corresponding app so they track their performance and see how they rank against others.
The sensor is a two-inch-in-diameter gizmo that attaches to the bottom of a skateboard or the top of a surfboard (or on a helmet if you prefer) via a mount, and captures motion data using inertial sensors and GPS. Specifically it contains 9-axis sensors, advanced multi-Hz GPS, BT 4.0, plus its own processor. Motion data is offloaded via Bluetooth and your smartphone’s connectivity to Trace’s servers for processing and then fed back to the your Trace app as a visualised session sheet.
Trace’s creators, who also previously created a tracker app/social network just for skiers and snowboarders called AlpineReplay, claim their speed/distance/jump height/rotation algorithms can “identify a tre-flip down 10 stairs, detail every turn on a 100-yard Rincon right, and measure a backflip off a 20-foot kicker at Mammoth”. So expect Trace to provide detailed pictures of your wipeouts, as well as your triumphs. That said, its creators note they are are also still working on fine-tuning their surfing and skating algorithms to be sure of their accuracy at correctly identifying tricks and turns in a variety of scenarios.
The idea behind using a dedicated hardware sensor device — rather than just relying on the sensors built in to a smartphone — is that it enables more sophisticated data to be captured. And of course allows the device to get wet. And take more knocks than you’d probably want your phone to. Trace is apparently shockproof, waterproof and durable, as well it needs to be. Its battery charges over USB — each charge apparently lasting up to seven hours.
Trace works with three free apps — one apiece for surfing, skating and snow-related sports — allowing users to view their performance stats and plug into a social network of fellow practitioners to rank and compare their sessions. The device can currently be bagged for a pledge of $129 — all early bird pledges of $99 having gone. Assuming its creators reach their $150,000 crowdfunding goal, they are aiming to ship Trace in February 2014.