While “smart” surfing may seem like a bit of a paradox for a sport well renowned for its laid-back participants, Lazerand claims it helps him to become a better athlete.
“It’s helped me become more consistent,” he said, noting that the data allowed him to adapt his cross-training to match his surfing style. “You have to be mentally and physically prepared, and the data I get from the Sys-Evo helps me do that. I’m not a tech guy, but this is really cool.”
The culmination of five years of research, the Sys-Evo is apparently so lightweight that some surfers have asked if the firm could possibly make it a bit heavier, in order to weigh the nose of the board down more on difficult waves. Users can also input data before surfing, like tides from the online tidebooks, which not only helps surfer safety, but can also tell the user when the best tide moment will be and where.
Surfboard equipped with Syride's MEMS-enabled Sys-Evo device.
The module itself contains a nine-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and allows for data to be collected both in and out of the water. “Surfers are big liars; they always want to brag and exaggerate to friends about the height of waves and their performance, but MEMS eliminates that,” explained Lazerand, joking that he’d even tried to hack his device to change the data after several instances of poor personal performance.
Not all surfers are particularly keen to adopt the new technology, however, with Lazerand noting that many were still a little wary of the technology. “I’ve had the most success with younger kids who love video games and grew up with the availability of data collection,” he said.
Whether the trend will spread or eventually dissolve, however, remains to be seen.
It's no wonder it was a big highlight f the show. Action Sports has been a catalyst for new trends for several years now. Technology in fashion is one example. The industry has also been a great agitator. The growth of Go-Pro accelerated crowd-sharing in a fun way.
And, it's great too see technology supporting the health of athletes. This can be used to keep track of, not only winning techniques, but also any degenerative effects on the body.
As a self-avowed data junkie, I think this is really cool technology. I remember working 25 years ago on some Virtual Reality projects where we were trying to map the body in 3D space. Some of it eventually translated into telepresence programs and gaming, but nothing like the miniature sensors can do now. Just wait until energy harvesting gets integrated into these sensors and then they can go just about anywhere.
Even if surfing has the reputation for being laid back, when it comes to competition, participants will do anything to improve performance. Just look at how performance-enhancing drugs proliferated. If MEMS improves performance, they will get the attention they deserve.
Now if we add a lite, powered, programmed exoskeleton to the person, they can be guided/prompted through the proper movements to enhance performance and to avoid injury. Like an instructor teaches how to fly a plane via dual controls.
Yes, this is like a virtual co-pilot. One application I've seen is that pro golfers and ball players are capturing their expert golf or baseball swings. Users can then match their own swings to the experts to see where they are matching for falling short of the expert's swings.
I imagine this technology has been available for some time in the movie industry, what with millions of budget dollars. Glad to see the form and functionality has advanced to be useful to sporting pursuits.
I have seen applications where Hollywood would dress an actor in a MEMS suit and use the feedback from it to "vitualize" them for use in CGI; much more lifelike than regular computer animation. I think it has been used for video game design as well.
I wonder how far we are from being able to record the perfect golf swing and then compare yours to the one on the screen. We all know several people will do whatever they can to improve their ability in the sports arena. I don't think it will be long before the technology allows everyone to hit the ball like Tiger Woods. Now the interesting part for me will be to see if the perfectly trained athelete will be as good as the naturally trained. Can computers and science replace natural ability? Or will science reach it's limits before human nature which can go the extra mile.
I think this was the technology used in Avatar to get the facial expressions of the actors onto the alien characters. They fitted the actors with facial sensors so they could capture emotional expressions.
Kickstarter offers a gazillion ideas for businesses that are seeking start-up funding. The crowdfunding site also features new gadgets from companies struggling to get their product out to customers. We took a look at the gadgets currently featured and found a number of cool ideas that are seeking funding angels.
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