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Week in Review–July 14th, 2014

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The Week in Review is a collection of both all the goodness I’ve written during the past week around the internet, as well as a small pile of links I found interesting – generally endurance sports related. I’ve often wondered what to do with all of the coolness that people write, and while I share a lot of it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, this is a better forum for sending it on to y’all. Most times these different streams don’t overlap, so be on the lookout at all these places for good stuff!

So with that, let’s get into the action!

DCRainmaker.com posts this past week:

Here’s all the goodness that ended up on the main page of DCRainmaker.com this past week.

Monday: 5 Random Things I Did This Weekend
Tuesday: Checking out Stage 4 of the 2014 Tour de France: From Le Touquet to Lille
Wednesday: Hands on with the new Adidas Fit Smart
Thursday: First look at the Suunto Ambit3 multisport GPS watch
Friday: ROTOR introduces new ROTOR Power LT power meter

Stuff that I found interesting around the interwebs:

Here’s a not-so-small smattering of all the random things that I stumbled on while doing my civic duty to find the end of the Internet:

1) What life would be like if we all acted like we were in the world cup: Aww…and it all ended tonight.

2) British Airways ‘Tests’ Happiness Blanket: I personally think it’d be hilarious to put similar sensors on a triathlete during an Ironman race.  Would love to see what miles 16-20 on the run look like…

3) The Other Triathlon – a look at ITU racing: Here’s part primer, part historical look and part thoughts on the future of ITU-style racing in triathlon.

4) A look at crank length and impact on power output: Good stuff from Tom A. on whether or not crank length actually impacts power output.

5) Giving Cyclists Eyes In the Backs of Their Heads: Bike-mounted radar unit warns cyclists of approaching cars. (via Dan Brock)

6) Cool behind the scenes look at IT infrastructure behind the TdF: How the Tour de France stays online over three weeks, 21 stages, and 3,664 km (via Dan Frommer Twitter)

7) Cycling under the English Channel: While it didn’t quite work out for Froome, this video they shot is still pretty cool.  Oh, also, a ‘making of’ video here.

8) Tour de France Power Meter Analysis/Files – Week 1: This was actually from earlier this week, so expect Week 2 to be published in the next 24-48 hours likely.  Cool stuff though as always.

9) Analysis of Stages Power Meter High-Speed Data: There’s been two totally different but interesting efforts in recent weeks at starting to dig into the high-speed data mode that Stages enabled this past winter.  The first (1st link) is from Robert Chung, who’s helped in a number of the power meter tests I’ve done from a data analysis standpoint.  The second is from a reader who’s created an app to visualize the high speed data, as seen below (it’s actually a cool thing to watch).  He’s looking for beta testers, where you can e-mail to bike.stroke.analysis@gmail.com if you’re interested.

10) The world’s tallest water slide: What’s perhaps more interesting about this video is that while the team/company is sponsored by Garmin and the VIRB (and it was filmed on a VIRB), there are GoPro’s in the frame for  a TV show – likely because GoPro offers more post-production capabilities than Garmin offers today.  Still, cool video. (via Tyler R.)

Crowd Funded Projects of Athletic Note:

Most of this content used to be found within the main section, but I figured I’d just call it out up here and make it easy to find. I regularly sift through Kickstarter and Indiegogo (plus a few others on occasion) looking for sports projects.  If you’re unfamiliar with projects, read my detailed post on how I decide which projects I personally back.  Note that as always with crowd funded projects, assume the project will be late and will under-deliver on features. Thus far, on the numerous products I’ve helped ‘fund’ (except a leather bike handle), that’s been the case.

LEO: Fitness Intelligence

A few of you have asked about this project this week, and I honestly don’t even know where to begin.  First, there’s a ton of claims about what the product can measure. I suspect they probably can measure some of it, like heart rate and some of the other muscle monitoring metrics just fine (they have some history elsewhere in that department). But I also expect that others are a bit more nebulous in the way they are presented.  For example – muscle imbalance does require you to have two devices (one on each leg), and the fact that it actually tells you to try and correct that by “pushing harder with the other leg” is so horribly misaligned to any scientific research that alone should be concerning.  Now they do disclose elsewhere that you need two devices, but many might miss that small statement.

image

Then there’s the certification by Dragon Innovations.  Which honestly, is like getting a certification from your drinking buddy.  See, Dragon is simply a VC funding entity that also has its own crowd funding platform (which, Leo didn’t use btw).  Thus, as a venture cap firm their entire goal in life is to create hype around a product so they make money.  Further, ignoring the source of such certification, there’s the fact that the certification only looks at the hardware BOM (Bill of Materials).  Which quite frankly is useless in a world where software is everything.  Not to mention it doesn’t look at any other aspects of project viability.

Next, they violate singular rule of manufacturing: They list a manufacturing date starting in February (2015).  Why is this a problem?  Because of the Chinese New Year, which results in the entire manufacturing capability of the country shutting down during that period, resulting in huge delays.  Unfortunately, they don’t list where they’re going to build the unit – but that’s a huge red flag as-is and ideally that should have been called out somewhere.

Last but not least, I feel the delivery date is too far out.  Given how there was virtually nothing actually shown in the video that represents a final product – it tells me they’re far away.  Thus I suspect April 2015 is probably Fall 2015.  Of course, I could be wrong and they’ll go from almost nothing to everything.  But historically speaking, that’s usually not the case.

Sports Technology Software/Firmware Updates This Week:

Each week I quickly highlight some of the new firmware, app, software and website service updates that I see go out. If you’re a sports technology company and release an update – shoot me a quick note (just one liners is perfect, or Tweet it at me is even better) and I’ll make mention of it here. If I don’t know about it, I won’t be able to post about it. Sound good?

Site/Firmware Updates:

Adidas Smart Run Update: Lots of updates here to Smart Run, including Bluetooth Sync to your phone as well as other cool items.

Garmin FR220 Firmware Update: Fixed issues with pace smoothing.

Garmin FR620 Firmware Update: Fixed issues with pace smoothing.

Garmin VIRB Edit: New gauges and templates.

Magellan Echo Firmware Update: Adds clock/watch faces, amongst other items.

iPhone Apps:

20140701_012229000_iOS 20140701_014454000_iOS

20140701_132134000_iOS 20140706_020800000_iOS

20140710_232956000_iOS

Android Apps:

Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-15-10 Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-15-30

Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-15-53 Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-16-10

Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-16-27 Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-16-42

Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-16-51 Screenshot_2014-07-13-21-17-11

iPad Apps:

photo

photo

Windows Phone Apps:

(Nothing here on this front for my phone)

Thanks for reading!

14 Comments

  1. Jose I

    The LEO looks like they are taking a HR monitor with a built in motion sensor and strapping it to your thigh.If they can get 4-6 conduction points and some decent signal processing, they can measure and/or infer quite a few interesting things. Not sure why it would take so long to develop - the HRM modules with motion sensing are fairly common and the strap is easy enough to have manufactured.

    Reply
    • Eli replied

      The HR stuff I think is secondary to what their real tech interests are. See link to researchworks.carleton.ca
      The original team behind LEO worked on a device that measures muscle recruitment as a way to control a video game. That is the primary technology this device is based on.

      They are also planning to use neural networks to analyze the data:
      link to angel.co
      link to mitacs.ca
      link to csc.cdf.toronto.edu

      This is way more then just a HRM and motion sensor

      Reply
    • Jose I replied

      Good links - thanks.. Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant the chip inside a common heart rate monitor can be used as the basis for electromyography. They operate on the same principle, and though most are single lead, I could see where you could gang them together and get a mult-lead. Or take some off the shelf signal amplifiers and run them through the onboard processor of a HRM chip to get the extra leads.

      Or you could take the unit used in several low end EEG's More leads and again, same principles.

      You could get basic muscle info on thigh muscles with 1 lead, but 4-6 would be better.

      Either way, I think there are a number of off the shelf chip solutions that would seem to point to a faster build time. But I don't know what their end game is.

      I don't know if neural networks are needed to do plain, old fashioned, linear algebra and signal processing, but hey, it sounds cool.

      Reply
    • Eli replied

      I think they are trying to look for patterns in the data and how the data changes over time (user is worn out, etc) I don't think the hardware is their main focus, its what to do with the data it gathers that will take time

      Seems like all the low hanging fruit for how to monitor the body are all done so the rest that remains aren't so simple. So at least for me, while I want a useful functioning device from a kickstart project some of the reason I go for something is to show interest in technology that goes in a new direction (or at least new outside of medical and research use) Think about it, not that much has changed from the Forrunner 305 in 2006 to the 620 today in terms of what they monitor

      Reply
    • Jose I replied

      I agree in part - the key is understanding the data. But unlike 10 or even 5 years ago, now we have inexpensive sensor packages in a wearable form that can measure temperature, motion, GPS, skin conductivity and EMG/EKG in single unit. With signal processing on board to do much of the heavy lifting.

      I think the there is more low hanging fruit than ever before. :-)

      Reply
  2. Dmitry

    You can also add updated TomTom MySports Connect Windows app in "SPORTS TECHNOLOGY SOFTWARE/FIRMWARE UPDATES THIS WEEK". They have finally added automatic update to Endomondo website. And very interesting - after uploading running activity to Endomondo, information about steps and steps/min will be shown for general run activity (not for a treadmill). That information is not shown neither in Strava, nor in Runkeeper.

    Reply
  3. Frank Cosgrove

    TACX app for android is working really well with my Bushido

    Reply
  4. About that high speed power data. I've had this data like for ages using my Lynx trainer. Not sure if it is of any use. I did find it amusing though to look at left/right leg recovery after I had little trauma:

    link to veloreality.com

    Reply
  5. MartinG

    How could you possibly omit Specialized's Win Tunnel video on shaven legs? Unquestionably the best bang for the buck for anyone who rides a bike in competition. Would be great to see someone replicate it though (call me a skeptic...)

    link to youtube.com

    PS I seem to recall you have a Mio Cyclo 505 in depth review in the works. Any idea on timescale?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I had that one saved but forgot to add it in.

      On the Cyclo 505, I've been waiting for them to return the unit to me after getting the firmware updated to 4.1 (coming out shortly). I wasn't able to get to the final 4.0 on the beta device I had. The device shipped out yesterday and should either arrive to me this afternoon or the morning.

      Reply
  6. MartinG

    Will be interested to see what you make of the 505. My non-racing, less-nerdy-than-me wife wants one primarily for navigation and basic stats, and it seems to be well liked elsewhere for that purpose. Not sure I can get over the lack of proper Mac support though.

    Are you planning to head for Mobile World Congress again in the spring?

    Reply
  7. Mr Nofish

    This is an especially good one. Not surprised about the result of the crank length experiment but interesting nonetheless, and the Stages stuff was amazing (especially the ever amazing RChung). The football video was also very nice.

    However, I wish somebody would explain me what sticking a radar on a cyclist's ass is hoping to achieve: either you can avoid the crash or you can't.

    And how are you going to do that? time perfecty a 6 meter high bunny hop?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Well, in this case you know a car is coming. Otherwise in some situations you might not know it. Just increases awareness. Some cyclists also zone-out a bit and eventually block a lane (unnecessarily, sometimes it's necessary). This might be good for them.

      Reply
  8. Mr Nofish

    Come to think of it, it might be useful for hearing impaired cyclists, I'm not persuaded it's better than a mirror for anyone else though - surely seeing what's behind is better than a blimp on a LED array?

    And I hate that they start their pitch with some bogus-sounding number about accidents, it makes it sound like cycling is something for daredevils, it's the opposite.

    People and firms trying to sell cycling stuff should realize that the key is getting more people onto bikes, not scaring them away.

    Instead they create this aura of imminent doom so you need a helmet, hi-viz clothing, a million lights and now a radar on at all times. This is a false image being projected and it hurts cycling instead of helping it

    Reply

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