A lot of cyclists use power meters, but likely a lot more would use them if the things weren't so expensive – they can easily cost over US$1,000. A group of Dutch entrepreneurs is out to address that situation, with the IQ².
Regular power meters incorporate a "strain gauge" which is attached to the surface of a measurable object. When force is applied to that object, it bends slightly, changing the length of the strain gauge. This produces a change in the gauge's electrical resistance, which is used to calculate a power value.
According to the folks at IQ², most power meters have strain gauges that are hand-glued into place. This means that even when two identical power meters are compared, the strain gauge won't be oriented exactly the same way in both of them. In order to compensate for that lack of uniformity, a factory calibration process is necessary, along with complex software. This makes mass-production challenging, which is reflected in the price.
The IQ², on the other hand, incorporates a unique thin-film strain gauge. It's directly deposited on the power meter with no human involvement, then molecularly-bonded and trimmed by a laser. As a result, every IQ² is reportedly exactly the same, so no factory calibration of individual units is required.
Additionally, unlike some other power meters that are built into bike parts such as crank arms, the IQ² is simply inserted between the pedal and the crank, meaning it's able to be swapped between multiple bikes. Users can opt for a single meter on one side (with a spacer on the other), or they can use two meters to get individual power readings from each leg.
The 29.7-gram water/dust-proof device is made of titanium and plastic, and is powered by a replaceable lithium coin cell battery that should be good for between 200 and 300 hours of use. It communicates with a third-party cycling computer via ANT+, or with an app on a paired smartphone via Bluetooth.
If you're interested in getting one (or two), the IQ² is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A single unit can be had for a pledge of €149 (about US$181) and €249 ($303) will get you a pair, with delivery estimated for September if everything works out. The planned retail price is €199 for one and €349 for two ($242 and $425).
There's more information in the following video.
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