Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Efficient chips let swimmers track in-water activity

Steve Rogerson
October 20, 2015
Tiny motion-sensing and data-processing chips from Swiss company ST Microelectronics have enabled an activity tracker designed for swimmers by swimmers with breakthrough positioning accuracy and real-time audio feedback from XMetrics, an Italy-based wearable-tech maker.
The ergonomic and lightweight device, which shares the company’s name, clips onto the goggles’ band at the back of the swimmer’s head. STM’s nine-axis MEMS inertial module senses the body movements and provides precise data analysed by the XMetrics algorithm, executed inside a 32bit microcontroller, to detect the swimming style and determine the number of laps and strokes, stroke frequency and quality, flip-turn efficacy, speed and elapsed time.
The microcontroller handles overall system processing inside the swim monitor. It runs algorithms that recognise and interpret all the complex biomechanical parameters to provide the analysis. Swimmers get instant information on their performance through waterproof earphones so they know exactly how they are doing at any turn or stop during the swimming session. STM has also supplied a dedicated component that protects the device against electrostatic discharge, securing a high level of signal integrity for the USB 2.0 interface.
“The market’s most accurate swim monitor with real-time audio feedback pushes the boundaries of what technology can do to help and encourage people to enjoy sports and stay fit,” said Philip Lolies, vice president at ST Microelectronics. “XMetrics’ decision to rely on STM sensors and microcontrollers confirms our position as the IoT one-stop shop and go-to partner for creating smart things that make positive contributions to people’s health and quality of life.”
The software and apps enable swimmers to programme their training schedule and customise the audio feedback. Synchronisation via tablet or smartphone is automatic and any parameter can be changed at any time. Out of the water, users can analyse every aspect of their swim using graphical tools and share results with their coach and friends.
“STM’s leading-edge IoT technologies helped us realise our dream of developing an easy-to-use, powerful smart-things trainer that delivers personal-coach attention to every swimmer,” said Andrea Rinaldo, XMetrics CEO, a swim coach and former professional swimmer. “The superior performance and energy efficiency of STM’s miniature chips maximise the monitor usability and make sure XMetrics users get the perfect balance of functionality, comfort and battery life.”
Over the past year, XMetrics has benefited from funding and managerial support to grow their business by Breed Reply, an IoT incubator.
“XMetrics is a great training and fitness tool for swimmers of all levels,” said Massimiliano Rosolino, an Italian swimmer and Olympic medallist. “If I’d had an XMetrics when preparing for the Olympics, I would probably have won one more medal.”