Instabeat is the latest swim training accessory to make a splash in the heart rate monitoring and lap counting arena. Designed to fit on a swimmer’s regular goggles, Instabeat reads the heart rate from the temporal artery, ‘getting rid of the (oh, so annoying) chest belt!’
The device is positioned as a ‘ground breaking swimming monitor mounted on your goggles that tracks, stores and displays instant feedback of your heart rate to reach your training goals.’
Instabeat is a sports technology start-up based in Lebanon. The company was founded in 2011 by former professional swimmer Hind Hobeika out of a need for a heart rate monitoring device for her own training regime. She got the idea while training for the American University of Beirut’s swimming team.
The start-up has a crowd funding campaign currently under way at Indiegogo – with a target of US$35,000 to bring forward production and take the brand to the next level.
To help launch the device fully into the water, swimmers can pre-order Instabeat via Indiegogo for US$139 instead of an expected US$149 retail price.
Over the past year and half, Instabeat has developed seven different versions of the prototype; and after extensive testing, the team is are finally happy with the current design – with a prototype that is ready to be manufactured.
The crowd-funding will enable Instabeat to:
- Convert the prototype to production-ready models
- Get all the necessary regulatory approvals
- Place the first production orders with its manufacturing partners
As ‘one of the hottest start-ups in the Pan Arab region,’ Instabeat was the first prize winner of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Business Plan Competition (2012) and the third prize winner of the Stars of Science competition organized by the Qatar Foundation (2010).
Instabeat has developed ‘a (patent-pending) optical sensor that can accurately read the heart rate from the temporal artery.’
The mechanical casing is designed to be flat so that:
- The sensor is always positioned over the temple area on any head, allowing it to constantly read the heart rate from any head frame
- The device stays in place despite the constant motion of swimming
Instabeat has multiple embedded motion sensors, that – in addition to calculating the calories, flip turns and breathing pattern of a swimmer – act to reduce the noise created by the motion of the head, ensuring the accuracy of the heart rate reading.
Fit to swim…
Instabeat notes that ‘Real-time tracking is crucial to achieve your training and fitness goals, but at the same time it shouldn’t disturb your head and arm motion during your swim.’ With this in mind, the device has a sleek design that aims to minimise friction in the water.
Once fitted on the goggles, the Instabeat sensor automatically turns on when the device is placed on the swimmer’s head. It projects a colour onto the goggle lenses in real-time, giving the swimmer feedback on how close they are from their target zone.
Each colour has three levels to indicate whether the athlete is in the beginning, middle or upper limit of the zone.
The device also measures calories, number of laps and flip turns. These are synced with the athlete’s personal dashboard to track progress over time. This prototype version syncs to the dashboard through a USB connection.
According to Instabeat, the device’s main features are:
- Minimal friction
- Easy to use (no ON/OFF buttons)
- Comfortable to wear
- Real-time accurate heart rate feedback
- Size: L 14 mm x W 5.3 mm x H 5.2 mm
- Weight: 30g
- Claimed heart rate accuracy: 97%
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery: 8 hours
For the first version, Instabeat syncs with a dashboard through the USB port of a computer. The data is stored and then synced. A smart phone app will be developed in due course, or if the company exceeds its crowd funding target and gets closer to the US$100K figure!