A ring-style fitness tracker for swimmers uses force and motion sensors collect data on the hands' movement as they push through the water. Matthew Stock reports.
Fitness trackers are mostly worn on the wrist. But a Hong Kong start-up is hoping to make a splash with this finger-worn swim analyser. The 'Seal' prototype device comprises two 'rings' worn on the middle finger of each hand. Force and motion sensors collect data as swimmers push through the water. SOUNDBITE (English) WONG CHEONG YUI, PLATYSENS FOUNDER, SAYING: "We have two sensors in it, one is the force sensor, we actually measure the force as the swimmer pushes through the water, and the other one is a motions sensor. The motion sensor is actually a combination of accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetic sensor." The two rings are synced together to measure left-right hand symmetry with each stroke through the water. So, for example, swimmers can tell if one hand is weaker than the other. SOUNDBITE (English) WONG CHEONG YUI, PLATYSENS FOUNDER, SAYING: "It basically helps to analyse your stroke, where the pro swimmer wears this like a ring on his hand. And then when he swims the sensor actually measures the force as they push through the water. And also we can record the motion of his hand. So after he swims, it uploads all the data to a mobile app and then we can show how he does about his stroke." Patent-pending algorithms relay the data via Bluetooth to a smart phone app. Swimmers can then share performance stats and coaches can use it as a training tool. For pro swimmers, drag can be the difference between winning or losing a race, so getting the rings as streamlined as possible is key. The makers are now working on a thinner model before taking the plunge and bringing it to market.