SwimAR: testing the benefits of GPS technology for swimmers

An open water swimmer and pink inflatable
  "SwimAR" by SwimAR.

SwimAR is a start-up sports technology business that has been spun out from The Imagination Factory design studio. The business was developing a heads-up display for swimmers to provide real-time performance data in their field of view. One of the target markets for SwimAR is open-water swimmers because it has the capability of providing visual wayfinding guidance.

The Challenge

SwimAR had carried out subjective research with swimmers that suggested they struggle to swim accurately from buoy to buoy and that this can be a barrier to entry to the sport for newcomers. They wanted to understand what the baseline is for open-water swimmer accuracy and approached the Sports and Exercise Sciences department of the University of Kent to help with this.

The Approach

Dr. Lex Mauger from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences organised and ran a study involving 17 participants that were GPS tracked whilst swimming pre-defined routes in a lake. The study showed that the swimmers completed on average an extra 9% of distance than required by the actual route.

The Result

This evidence helped SwimAR to quantify the kind of benefit that the device could bring to open-water swimmers. A prototype was developed and the study repeated to provide evidence for this tangible benefit. This project was funded through the Industrial Strategy uplift.

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences produces rigorous and applicable research that develops employable graduates and impacts the training and performance of coaches and athletes. The School has expertise in:

  • exercise physiology
  • biomechanics
  • nutrition
  • injury
  • rehabilitation
  • psychology.

Contact our business and innovation gateway team to discuss how your business can access the School’s expertise.