Sensor-packin' hand paddle assesses swimmers' strokes
While there are already performance-tracking watches that count swimmers' laps and strokes, they typically don't provide feedback on the quality of those strokes. A new device known as the SmartPaddle, however, is designed to do just that.
The SmartPaddle was created by Trainesense, a spinoff company from the Finnish Institute of Technology.
It actually consists of two devices, each one worn on the underside of the fingers of each of the swimmer's hands. As that person swims, sensors on the two SmartPaddles measure the magnitude, trajectory, direction and timing of the force that they apply to the water.
That data is wirelessly transmitted to an iOS/Android app on a poolside mobile device, where it's processed and recorded. The app's display allows a coach to assess the efficiency of the swimmer's stroke in real time, and to review their performance with them after they get out of the pool.
Among other things, the system may point out that the swimmer is pushing down too hard when their hand initially enters the water (which seems intuitive, but actually creates drag); that their palm isn't facing fully backward when delivering force; or that their hand isn't accelerating smoothly throughout the stroke.
Additionally, like a swim-tracking watch, it also counts strokes and laps, plus it records lap times.
The SmartPaddle is available now via the link below, and is priced at €499 a set (about US$539).