The arrival of smartphone technology led to new apps appearing for everything from checking the weather to the latest sports results. Back in 2010, we predicted that what would come next would be a plethora of dedicated ‘hardware apps’ – or ‘appcessories’ – that would work in tandem with a smartphone to enhance a range of consumer products and services… And we were right.
It is not always practical to use the smartphone itself for collecting or displaying information. Whereas inexpensive connected devices have the potential to extend and enhance a smartphone’s capability. As recent history has now proved, fitness technology development is an area where these benefits are clear…
We combined our experience in smart system design and sensor fusion to develop i-dration. There is rarely a ‘silver bullet’ sensor that can give you the information you want. But it is possible to combine data from multiple sensors and infer the desired information using smart algorithms.
In the i-dration bottle, a flow meter can detect water consumption and a thermometer measures outside temperature. This data is communicated wirelessly to the smartphone. The phone’s inbuilt accelerometer and gyroscope can determine activity levels and, by ‘fusing’ the data from a heart-rate chest band and pre-entered information (such as height, age and weight), the application can perform an assessment of an athlete’s hydration status.
The bottle gently glows with a blue light when the athlete needs to drink – avoiding any disruptive alerts or the need to look at the smartphone screen during exercise.
Hydration is an important part of healthy exercise, and levels of hydration can have a significant impact on performance. Drinking too much water can have an equally negative effect on sports performance as drinking too little. The i-dration bottle encourages athletes to drink when they need to – rather than only when they feel thirsty.