For high-level athletes, knowing exactly where they need to improve is critical information. Coaches can go a long way towards helping, but nothing can replace data. A new product called XBand Speed Pro aims to provide just that for athletes, with the ability to track speed and agility metrics through a wearable device.
XBand Sports acknowledges that there is no shortage of products on the market aimed at telling people how many steps they've taken and how many calories they've burned. However, the company claims that for athletes, more data is required, and that's the void it is attempting to fill with its new wearable system.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Basically, it's designed to be a coach for athletes when no coach is available. It uses three parts in order to capture its data – a finish line module, a body module that the athlete wears on his or her arm, and a smartphone adapter that interprets the data and displays it within the system's app.
In addition to just showing data, the creators promise that the app will be able to display coaching tips that will actually help runners improve their speed and performance. It accomplishes this by comparing the data to other users in its database. From there, it sees where the athlete is weak and recommends drills to improve in those areas, much like a real coach would.
As for the kinds of data it tracks, runners can see their time from start to finish (the end is defined by the finish line module). Additionally, it can let runners see all kinds of actual agility data such as top speed, time to reach top speed, time to react to the start signal, if max speed is maintained throughout the run, and plenty of other pieces of key information.
The creators claim that the system is incredibly accurate, and that it has been tested against laser systems used in professional sporting events, with comparable results.
Besides units for individuals, XBand Sports is also offering its system with Coach and School packs that offer additional functionality for team training, while also offering enough components to be used by an entire team of athletes.
XBand Sports is seeking funding on Kickstarter. The project has just launched, and is still a long ways away from its US$150,000 goal. It promises the goal of making the devices affordable for athletes, and the $100 early bird backer price reflects that. When those run out, the price jumps to $135, which seems reasonable provided the system actually delivers on its promises. The aforementioned coach and school packages start at $650 for five of each of the devices, and go up from there.
The Kickstarter pitch video below provides more information and shows the system in use.