Instabeat shows swimmers their heart rate – in their goggles


April 29, 2013

Instabeat is a heart rate-monitoring device for swimmers, that displays data within their goggles

Instabeat is a heart rate-monitoring device for swimmers, that displays data within their goggles

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For pretty much any endurance-oriented sport, athletes like to be able to reach a target hear rate when they’re training. Typically, this is done using a sensor integrated into a chest strap, that’s linked to a sports watch, smartphone, or even to a heads-up display in a set of glasses. While there are sports watches designed for swimmers, users have to stop swimming in order to read them. With the Instabeat, however, swimmers get the heads-up option in the form of colored LEDs that are projected through the bottom of their goggles.

The Instabeat device attaches to the head strap of a regular set of goggles in such a way that it’s able to read the wearer’s heart rate from their temporal artery, via an optical sensor – apparently it works with any head size. This means that no chest straps or other peripherals are required. It automatically turns itself on when it detects a pulse, and turns itself off when removed.

An onboard microprocessor keeps track of the heart rate in real time, and illuminates color-coded lights that indicate whether the wearer is currently at their own user-specific Fat Burning, Fitness, or Maximum Performance heart rate. These lights can be seen through the right-hand goggle lens, simply by glancing down.

The device also calculates how many calories have been burned, plus built-in motion sensors allow it to keep track of laps, flip turns and breathing patterns. This data can be accessed on a dashboard display after the swim, when the Instabeat is synced with a computer via USB.

The designers of the device are currently raising productions funds, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$139 will get you an Instabeat, when and if they reach production. The estimated retail price is $149.

More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: Indiegogo

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth


I suspect a lot of people will not be able to use these types of devices at length because it will give them headaches and such to use them.


If that guys cross eyes are a indication this will be hurting more than helping ; )

Joe F

As a competitive swimmer, the last thing I want is added weight, decreased visibility and a disturbed water flow around and on my face.

I like the idea of a projection onto the interior of the goggles but I would want this.

Others may differ and if more efficient training is perceived to be highly achievable then I'm sure there are many who would force themselves to get used to the annoyance of the physical realities associated with using this.

Joseph Boe

Hey guys! My name is Hind, I am the founder of Instabeat.

@Diachi, the color display is at the lower/outer side of your eye and creates a very light color reflection into your lens- the possibility of you getting a headache is very slim! It's as if you are wearing goggles with pink lenses :)

@Joseph: The device weighs 25 grams, it is almost as light as your goggles. We conducted fluid simulation analysis on the device, and the drag coefficient is 0.1, which is negligible. The device's body is in the same direction as the water flow, and will not create any disturbance.

Hind Hobeika


I appreciate the response but at "almost the same weight as my goggles" that is now twice the weight. I'm going to feel that.

As far as the water flow/drag coefficient and "no disturbance" I can't conceive of putting additional dimension on one side of the googles and not creating a noticiable change in the feel of the water flow around your face. My most immediate example would be how this will impact the exhalation of air as I breathe out.

I'm not saying any of this would stop me or others from using or even LIKING it - I'm saying I would expect these experiences and that it may drive me to distraction.

As an athlete, little, seemingly insignificant things can really drive you crazy - bubbles getting sticking around the nosebridge of your goggles, a shirt that clings just a little too tightly when your running hard, ski boots that grab the top of your ankle in just the wrong way when your skiing - all of these things can cause you to simply not use a product that is otherwise very good and functional.

All of the above is also very subjective but none the less real.

The only way to know is to simply try it and see.

I do very much like the idea of this and the design DOES look promising.

Joseph Boe

I do not think there is a need to buy such swim goggles since most of the young swimmers are always ready to push their bodies to their extremes. If they kept on measuring their heartbeat rate, it would let them down. Am I right?

Robert Hadley

As a recreational "swimmer for fitness" I would be really tempted to get this kind of device as a way of optimising training. I wonder if the lap count is also displayed - that would be really nice.

And devs - love your accent; so cool.

Gregg Cleland
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