No one believing your tales of gnarly moves pulled on some off-piste run? Can’t convince your friends you nailed a Spock 540 One Handed when no one was looking? Now you can prove it (or get a harsh dose of reality) with the ShadowBox – a "personal 3D sports recorder" that attaches to your extreme sporting implement of choice and uses GPS and G-Force data to record a "ride path" of all your extreme sporting moves. Ride data can be viewed immediately on the device or uploaded to a PC or Mac to analyze all your extreme sporting moves in 3D detail.

When activated the ShadowBox puts a complex array of sensors and software algorithms to work to not only gather ride data, but also interpret it. They include:

  • 3-axis high g accelerometers: to measure acceleration and calculate velocity and position on a much finer scale than GPS. Also used to track the gravity vector to get a low frequency measurement of pitch and roll angles
  • 3-axis low g accelerometers: to provide more accurate data than the high g accelerometers for lower impact activities
  • 3-axis gyros: to measure angular velocity (spin rate), used to calculate rotation angles
  • 3-axis magnetometers: to measure the Earth’s magnetic field which is used as an estimate of the device’s Z axis angle
  • GPS module: to provide a low frequency measurement of position and velocity and allow for uploading of ride data to Google Earth
  • Pressure sensor: one pascal (Pa) resolution sensor to determine small changes in altitude for applications such as aviation, motocross, kiteboarding etc.
  • Temperature sensor: to calculate air density which is used to translate atmospheric pressure into an altitude measurement

Using these sensors the ShadowBox can record a full GPS pathway, launch angle, height, distance, hang time, speed (average or at any point), degrees of spin, roll and flip of every trick, as well as spin rate, G-forces and board angle at any point in the trick. This data can be viewed immediately as a set of stats on the ShadowBox’s OLED display, or connected to a PC or Mac via USB to display the ride in 3D or export the entire ride path to Google Earth.

Mounting the ShadowBox

The ShadowBox attaches to just about anything, be it mountain bike, boat, windsurf board, skis, snowboard, wakeboard, surfboard, and presumably even
ironing boards, by way of a leash and four, ball socket rotational mounting feet that are stuck in place using 3M double-sided marine tape. These feet snap onto a mounting bracket on the rear of the ShadowBox to hold it securely in place, while also making it easily removable. There is also a hard plate (or “Wake Plate”) mounting option available for surfaces that have an open screw hole.

Its creators say that the exact mounting position of the ShadowBox is critical. Generally it is the “middle center” of an object that allows for the most accurate capture of object angles, height, spins and spin rates about the X, Y and Z-axes, but for some sports it may not be practical to mount the device in the middle center. So, to give a more accurate representation of movement each sport or activity mode is programmed to “know” where you’ve mounted the box. In windsurfing, for example, the ShadowBox is meant to be mounted just in front of the mast. While this is not the exact middle center, the recording software for windsurfing “knows” this is where the device is being placed and adjusts accordingly.

Measuring 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.75-inches (91 x 59 x 19 mm) and weighing about 0.25-lb (120 g) the ShadowBox won’t cramp your style, while its waterproof (to 10 feet/3 meters) and shock proof casing ensures it can handle most anything your extreme self can throw at it. The unit’s internal rechargeable battery will provide power for between four and five hours, while the included 1GB SD card is capable of holding up to 10 hours of ride data. The ShadowBox ships with a car charger and can also be recharged via USB. It retails for US$499.

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