Innovation & Swimming – Helping Resurface

During the summer of 2015, circumstances brought four like-minded high schoolers with similar interests.  The problem in front of us was – why drowning even among professional triathletes was high and what can be done?

Late night brainstorming and long hours in the labs resulted in a successful and working prototype of an inflatable device that can be worn as an armband and can be easily inflated on-demand by pull of a string. The device is capable of taking a swimmer up to 350 lbs. to safety when the disaster strikes.  ReSurface was born!

– Meghna Sil

Innovation & Swimming – a Coach’s Aide

Undoubtedly, there have been very many technological innovations in the arena of athletics and sports, ranging from real-time feedback on the performance to collection of voluminous data for post analysis. But then, there aren’t many to aid the swimming coaches in the pool. In swimming, like many other sports, coaches still largely depend on stopwatch, whistle, notepad and pencils, and if lucky enough, a few assistant coaches.

Which coach wouldn’t dream of shaving some time off from focusing on the stopwatch and instead concentrate on swimming techniques and stroke efficiency? All the coach has to do is have the swimmers wear this innovative device called TritonWear at the back of their head (attached to the goggle strap or tucked under the swim cap) and turn it on; and a tablet either running on iOS or Android to track and view the swimmer’s performance.

TritonWear’s design is very well thought out with various sensors necessary to collect, store and transmit performance metrics. The device includes a Micro USB port for charging, is water resistance up to a depth of 3 m (~10 ft.) and use Bluetooth technology to connect with iOS and Android devices.


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The device collects and transmits real time data for over 15 different performance metrics that determines the speed and stroke efficiency. Some of the key metrics are – stroke count, stroke rate, time underwater, turn time, etc. When these metrics are fed real time to the tablet, the coach does not have to keep looking at the stopwatch and calling out to the swimmers. There is more time to focus on other important aspects of coaching. The app on the tablet also provides a very efficient interface for the coach to monitor the performance of multiple swimmers at the same time.

The data collected while the swimmer is in the water can also be used for running analytics that can provide much more insight than what the coach or the swimmer can imagine. The data can reveal a wealth of information that can be used for planning future training and visualize various trends with the current training.

TritonWear does not replace but rather empowers the coach by providing actionable intelligence to help target specific performance improvements.

Coaches can now put technology and data to work! I would highly recommend TritonWear to the coaches.

– Meghna Sil

Innovation & Swimming – be Coached

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your coach available 24X7, swimming next to you, providing instantaneous feedback and correcting your strokes? How cool would that be!

A group of innovators in France conceived the idea and developed a ‘personal coach’ called Swimbot.  Swimbot is a small device that has all the necessary sensors and microprocessor to help the swimmer improve their swimming by providing constant feedback during swimming via a set of bone conduction earphones.  All the components including lithium battery is compactly packed inside the device which can be tucked in behind the head under the swim cap. Very elegantly designed!

swimbot-swimcapswimbot-console(Photo Source –

Even before the swimmer gets into the water, she can put the ‘personal coach’ to work. Swimbot, which can be connected to smart phones using Bluetooth, comes with a set of tutorials on various techniques. A wide range of these tutorials is also available on YouTube – these tutorials are highly recommended. Very impressive content!

Before diving into the water, the swimmer can choose a training program on the touchscreen console of the device. These training programs focus on streamlining, propelling and breathing techniques. Once she starts swimming, a wide range of sensors housed in the device kick into action. These sensors continuously measure all the relevant parameters, determine any deviation from ideal, and instantaneously convey the feedback via a set of earphones; the swimmer can instantly adjust her strokes and make necessary corrections. Let us get real, she would not get this kind of instantaneous feedback from a real coach. Would she?

As she continues to swim, all the measures, including the performance measures, are stored in Swimbot that can be synched up with a smart phone for later analysis. The stored data is very valuable for the swimmer and her actual coach to synch up and jointly perform the analysis.

If popularized and delivers on its promises, Swimbot could be a game-changer.

Want to listen to music while swimming? Swimbot comes with an MP3 player too. Or, want to swim at a certain tempo? Swimbot can help with that too.

I can’t wait to hear what other swim enthusiasts think of this cutting edge device.

– Meghna Sil

Innovation & Swimming – be Navigated

IOLITE, a GPS based tracking device, gets it name from legendary Sunstones used by the Vikings for navigation. Rightfully so!

This is not the first time (or the last) you are hearing this – one of the challenges of open water swimming is to stay on course. A triathlete swimmer would appreciate anything that would take away the stress of staying on course and rather focus their energy on swimming.

IOLITE does just more than taking care of sighting and assists the swimmer with navigating along a straight line. It also comes with added features to help maintain a planned pace and assists in keeping stroke cadence. IOLITE also collects all the data from start to finish for later analysis.

IOLITE primarily comes as two components, GPS tracking unit and LED Display unit, housed in leak-proof casings and connected by a flexible and water-resistant cable. The LED Display is attached to lens of swimming goggle and the tracking device either can be attached to the goggle strap at the back or tucked under the skullcap. The tracking device provides real time feed to the LED Display so the swimmer can respond accordingly.

IOLITE primarily comes as two components, GPS tracking unit and LED Display unit, housed in leak-proof casing and connected by a flexible and water-resistant cable. The LED Display is attached to lens of swimming goggle and the tracking device either can be attached to the goggle strap at the back or tucked under the skullcap. The tracking device provides real time feed to the LED Display so the swimmer can respond accordingly.

iolite-GPS Unit

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How does it work? The navigation path can be pre-plotted using the software (that comes with the product) OR allow the GPS to determine ‘line of swimming’ within few feet of swimming. It is also relatively easy to reset the direction mid-course. Any deviation from the path is indicated by a set of LED lights on the display.

Even though IOLITE is a great innovation, to me, it looked like a range of devices packaged into one. Sometimes additional features can be a distraction and if that is the case, the users will turn off those features. The product should not lose its primary purpose – keep the swimmer on course. Do we really need a device to help triathlete swimmers to maintain rhythm of their strokes?

As I had indicated in another article, discussions will continue around fairness of using such devices in competitive swimming. In parallel, innovation should continue to bring better products to keep the swimmers safe and contribute towards better performance.

-Meghna Sil

Innovation & Swimming – Stay On Course

The title of this article could not have been any more apt. I am a big fan of any innovation that makes swimming safe and fun, and also ignites interest to learn and enjoy swimming. In one of my previous articles, I described my experience with open water swimming and the challenge I faced in trying to stay on course (the lane markers at the bottom are no more!). Of course, it’s a skill that you can learn and slowly master as you train in open waters.

Wouldn’t it be nice to offload the sighting and navigation while you are focused on competing in open water or just swimming for pleasure?  OnCourse Goggles does exactly that for you.


The ‘miniaturized’ device is encased in the frame of the goggles and consists of a high-precision magnetometer, a 3-axis accelerometer with tilt compensation, a micro-controller, a rechargeable battery, and a pair of feedback LED lamps, one on each eyecup. The device uses earth’s magnetic force to navigate.

OnCourse Goggles is very simple to use. Once you strap it,  all you need to do is baseline the course by looking at a landmark or buoy and click a button on its frame. Any deviation from the baseline will trigger the LED lamp to blink – deviation to the left will blink the lamp on the left and vise-versa. You can also easily re-baseline your direction in the midcourse simply by clicking the same button.

OnCourse Goggles has an intelligent and elegant design, and is easy to use.

I spoke to some open water swimmers that spanned the spectrum – recreation swimmers to triathlete swimmers- to get their opinion about OnCourse Goggles. I got mixed responses, but most of them agreed that the idea was quite innovative. Disagreement was mostly around fairness in using OnCourse Goggles for competitive sport, despite this being approved by USAT for use in sanctioned competitions. Some felt sighting and ability to navigate is a skill that is developed with practice and that skill should be a consideration in competitive open water swimming, and some even felt it could be a disadvantage to the swimmer who cannot afford it. To its defense, some argued that it is not any different from some triathletes using expensive wetsuit, skullcaps, bicycles and helmet.

While the debate on OnCourse Goggles continues, we also need to consider – this kind of innovative devices can actually ignite interest in many people to get into the open water and enjoy the swimming in open water. It’s very important to choose the marketing message very carefully.

Who says innovation cannot be disruptive? In fact, most of the time it is. That does not mean we need to disrupt innovation.

-Meghna Sil