1. Measure your performance
2. Stay informed
3. Find your way around
Are you taking advantage of the winter holidays to go skiing? Here is a selection of applications to avoid getting stuck at the bottom of the tracks.
February is the time to hurtle down the slopes with family or friends. But to ensure that the slide runs smoothly and to avoid finishing with your nose in the powder, you might as well put all the chances on your side. We have chosen for you a series of applications to download to your smartphone to have fun during your holidays.
On the agenda: performance measurement to be the best on the slopes, a map of the slopes and the weather to slide at the right time and in the right place, and tools to avoid getting lost in the snow.
Applications to measure its performance
Let’s face it, we like to be the best at something, and even more so on the slopes. But without good tools, it is difficult to estimate your abilities and compare them with those of your friends or other skiers in the massif. To do all this without having to worry, the accelerometer and GPS of most smartphones are more than enough. We have selected the three of you that stand out from the crowd, even if the choice is not lacking.
By The Wave Snowboarding Tracker
Researchers at the Institute of Mechanics and Engineering (1) have developed a device embedded on surf and snowboard boards that indicates to the surf and snowboarder the best time to get up and catch the wave or track your mountain rides. Based on four years of R&D, BY THE WAVE products are equipped with the latest advances in embedded technology and predictive algorithms. It is a sensor that attaches to the front of a surf and snowboard to help the surf and snowboarder get up, the objective being to make the learning phase less frustrating for the beginner. Equipped with the first virtual coaching algorithm, a connected version also allows to measure in real time the performance of each surfer and snowboarder.
Learning to surf and snowboard requires effort and patience. On average, it takes a beginner a year of continuous practice to master the most critical action: the transition from lying to standing, when you have to stop rowing and catch the wave. It requires three concomitant elements: a fluid gesture, in the right place at the right time. If the first two elements are easy to work with, good timing is only acquired with experience and its learning is often very long: on average one year of continuous practice!
This phase corresponds to the most critical and frustrating action for a beginner practitioner: without take-off, no sensation of slipping can be properly felt… BY THE WAVE, in collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Mechanics and Engineering (1), who are also passionate about surfing and snowboarding, have developed a device (2) that facilitates the learning of surfing and snowboarding during this particularly frustrating period for beginners and has thus developed the first wave-taking device for beginners.
Can be used within a surf and snowboard school or by beginners on their own, it is a device that attaches itself to the front of the board and gives the surf and snowboarder the optimal moment in real time to carry out their take-off thanks to a visual signal (in foams or non-breaking waves). The case can be fixed on all boards, short or longboard.
Initially, the researchers’ idea was to develop a surf and snowboard simulator. To do this, it was necessary to carry out an experimental campaign with a real instrumented board (measurements of forces, speeds, accelerations…) in order to analyze the movements in order to reproduce them then on a hexapod type platform (robotized platform set in motion by six parallel actuators). In parallel, a thesis carried out in the laboratory by Kevin Lestrade led to the filing of patents and the creation of his company, BY THE WAVE.
The technologies (4) developed in the laboratory are now found in two products proposed by the startup. Specifically designed for beginners, a box (Wavecatcher 1.0) attached to the front of the board, takes measurements in real time and indicates to the surfers and snowboarders lying on their board, by a visual signal, the right time to try their take-off. The Wavecatcher 1.0 is already on sale.
BY THE WAVE is also developing a range of connected tools that measure in real time the performance of each surf and snowboarder. It is the first virtual coaching algorithm that allows surfers and snowboarders to improve their surfing and snowboarding thanks to adapted and personalized advice: performance, interactions with their surfboard and snowboard, characteristics of their surfing and snowboarding style, defects, strong points…
The Wavecatcher 2.0 can be synchronized with a mobile application and integrates the first virtual coaching algorithm that allows the surfers and snowboarders to improve thanks to adapted and personalized advice: the device analyses what the surfers and snowboarders have done on each wave and then gives them advice to improve their level. The Wavecatcher 2.0 is therefore available for pre-sale. The pre-series is planned for this summer with a target launch date of the last quarter of 2018.
For the experienced or professional surfer and snowboarder, a version connected to the grip – or pad – will be available from 2019. This Techpad will allow surfers and snowboarders to have the means to measure and compare their performance, for fun, competition or simply to seek performance. This device can also be directly integrated into the surfboard and snowboard, the latter being instrumented during its manufacture. This product must be able to be used to instrument surf and snowboard simulation boards, used in amusement parks or wave pools for example.
These sensors, which measure and analyze the data in real time, reflect the interaction between the athlete and his board, and between the board and the environment. It is in the continuity of this work that the project of a connected board for learning to surf and snowboard was born. The startup By the wave, founded in 2017 by three researchers (3) from the Institute of Mechanics and Engineering, and headed by Kevin Lestrade, has signed a license with the Satt Aquitaine Science Transfer to commercialize connected devices to assist in learning to surf and snowboard.
The developers of Alpine Replay have specialized in snow applications, and it shows. Trace Snow measures just about anything you could imagine. On the same page, you have access to speed, distance covered, altitude difference, time spent skiing… You can even count the calories expended or jumps, the time spent in the air and on the lifts. In other words, you will know more than you need to.
It is perhaps in this profusion that the main problem lies: the app wants to make it so much that the space left for each data is reduced (especially since everything is displayed on a single screen). When in addition, you have big gloves, it is difficult to read and handle this tool properly. The available space is half occupied by performance charts or the map. You will need a very large screen to enjoy it.
To operate, the application requires a continuous GPS connection, which can be very demanding for the battery. The advantage is that you only have to launch it at the beginning of the day and turn it off at the end, since it distinguishes your inactivity times from each of your runs. Once you get back to the station, you can review your day’s achievements, get statistics to find out exactly where you stand, and share it all on Facebook.
+ The most important
– Very complete, measures everything
– Free of charge
– The least
– Interface well (too much?) filled in
This application is not free, unlike the previous one, but it has advantages. The number of measurements is quite acceptable: speed, distance covered, altitude difference, your current altitude and the number of descents made. Each data block provides access to associated, more accurate information, but the interface focuses mainly on the former. This avoids being overwhelmed by a series of unnecessary numbers.
We can blame Ski Tracks for its too square and simplistic interface, but it has the merit of remaining readable. The map is presented separately, and you can customize the display according to your desires (3D map via Google Earth, or simple plane map). The different phases of your day as well as the photos are geolocated. This allows you to make a complete replay at night by pressing a button. Replay that you can then share on Facebook with a Google Earth map.
Ski Tracks knows how to be discreet. You can let it run in the background to continue using your phone. In addition, it does not need a signal to measure your performance. This application can last for a long time without damaging your battery. It should be noted that periodically the application will try to reposition itself, so it may be interesting to cut 3G if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises.
+ The most important
– Very readable
– 14 hours of use
– The least
– Interface a little poor
Finally in the sensors, an application for Windows Phone owners. Ski Blackbox chooses simplicity over precision. The interface is refined, all data is not displayed on a single screen. We will like it or not, it depends on your desires, but it must be recognized that it makes the reading appreciable, especially since the colors are well chosen for once. You can select your visualization mode, race by race or total of the day, according to your needs.
In terms of measurements, Ski Blackbox has nothing to envy to the previous ones: speed, distance covered, duration of each descent, altitude difference, slope, jumps, ski lifts… Again, perhaps more than necessary. To achieve this, the application relies on both your GPS position and your accelerometer. Your phone will send you a notification every time you break a record, a nice little reminder to go even further, but quite anecdotal.
The application can provide you with a detailed and video replay of your runs, which will help you identify your mistakes on the track, even if the result is a little simplistic. You can then export the data in.gpx to your OneDrive account, and share your runs on Twitter and Facebook. Be careful not to make the day last too long because Ski Blackbox tends to start the battery well.
+ The most important
– Good interface
– Many measurements available
– The least