Competitive cycling tech takes motion analysis on the road
No sport on the planet is probably more focused on getting the slightest competitive edge than professional cycling. While some methods – like performance-enhancing drugs and hidden electric motors in bike frames – are illegal, using technology to improve training and reduce injuries is not. That's where Leomo and its TYPE-R motion-measurement tool comes in.
The TYPE-R is wearable technology designed to measure and analyze specific elements of a cyclist's movement. It consists of five rechargeable Bluetooth sensors, and a touchscreen head unit that can be mounted on a handlebar or the rider's wrist.
The head unit also features GPS tracking and wireless connectivity that can measure power, power balance, cadence, and heart rate.
The sensors are worn on each shoe, above each knee, and above the sacrum – the boney area of the lower back. They measure pedalling velocity, heel and ankle movement, leg motion and pelvic position. Sync the TYPE-R to a Wi-Fi network, and ride data can be uploaded to the cloud and analyzed on a web-based dashboard accessible from any web browser in the world.
Leomo points out that while there are already lab-based systems that let you measure this type of motion and position now, the TYPE-R is meant to do so in real-world training and race conditions.
For coaches of elite athletes, this means they can use the data to correct movement and position remotely, and they have the data to back up the validity of what they're recommending. Athletes can see the direct result of even minor changes in real time during training, since the results show up immediately on the screen of the head unit.
Leomo partnered with well-established electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build the TYPE-R hardware. Battery life is expected to be around 6.5 hours.
While there are a variety of wearable motion measurement systems out there like the Piq for skiers and boxers, and Heddoko for a variety of sports, these typically require some type of sensor-equipped clothing. The small size of the sensors in the TYPE-R system and their sensitive focus on primary movements, eliminates the need for that kind of special gear.
Leomo says that it's currently in beta, with invited participants only. The first 300 beta units of the TYPE-R are being sold at US$399.99. The next 300 will be sold at $499.99 and the final 300 will go for $599.99. After the open beta period, the TYPE-R is expected to retail for between $700 to $800.
While the company is aiming the TYPE-R at professional cyclists, triathletes and their coaches for now, it's looking at designing future versions for competitive swimmers and runners.
The video below shows how the Leomo TYPE-R can be used and explains it in more detail.