Whatever your take on the GPS vs Impeller debate, it is exciting to see the velocity-distance unit combined with the cox box so that big-boat crews won't need both a cox box and a speed coach to provide all the information that they need. It is also exciting to hear that the In2Rowing gang are continuing to innovate, looking at including an accelerometer in their product. This could provide some interesting opportunities for researchers to conduct research on a fairly large scale with affordable equipment. Unfortunately the drive to innovate at In2Rowing has them continuing to push the envelope, rather than bringing a product to market. I would encourage them to get something out there!
If anyone has tried one of the handheld GPS units, you'll know how cool it is to get back from training and overlay your session on a map using the GPS software (I have used the Garmin unit). In2Rowing have perhaps one-upped them at least for coolness - as we can't evaluate the usefulness compared to Garmin's Motion-based web software- by having their sessions overlay on Google Earth! NK also has download capabilities so we will have to be careful not to get too focussedon the GPS units cool-fact and consider the usefulness of these capabilities in all units - see tomorrow's post on off-water analysis on training with the various options available to rowers. I have tried the Motion-based option with my crews, but was reminded of it by my most frequent reader and commenter "anonymous."
In2Rowing's Nathan Seidle responded to my inquiry by sending a lengthy comment:
The In2 is a funny beast. It was part of the reason I started Spark Fun Electronics (www.sparkfun.com) which is now a rapidly growing electronics company. We are young, idealistic, and dumb when it comes to marketing, but we love to play with electronics.You've got a really good Blog going! Great breakdown and as far as I can read into it - a very balanced look at tech on rowing shells....
The real kicker with the In2 is that we have access to so much technology through Spark Fun, that we keep trying to pack it into the In2. First it was GPS, then data logging, then accelerometer data. We've tried hard to keep it under control but I believe we are a few weeks away from our pilot run. We already have list of 10-15 testers and inquires from enough programs to keep the heat on.There will always be the debate between GPS vs. Impeller, but we don't really mind and neither does NK. We've had a lengthy chat at HOC last year where In2's booth was opposite NK's much larger booth. Chris (I actually completely forget the name of the head marketing there) was really excited to see more competition in the field. NK felt like they always took the heat from rowers when their units broke or when their design hadn't changed in years. And after attempting to build my own water-proof (read coxswain proof) enclosure, I have nothing but the utmost respect for their bomb-like built units - they stand up really well!What we plan to offer is more technology, more data, and more ease of use. It can be the greatest widget in the world, but if no one can install it, calibrate it, or keep it stuck to the boat, customers will look elsewhere. When I was on the Univ. of Colorado crew team, we could only afford two units for our 12 shells. One coxswain always seemed to forget one of the Speedcoach units, and the other never could troubleshoot the wiring when things didn't work.Just checking in to the NK site, looks like the new Speedcoach XL3/4 went from advertising a 9 mile range down to a 1/4 mile range. They hit the same barriers we did with power output and antennas near water (horrible for range).
I don't know if his comments about the Speedcoach XL are correct or not - nor can I imagine any coach monitoring from 9 miles away - but we will have more on the XL soon direct from NK.
Off-water workout analysis options!