There's no shortage of sports performance trackers, but most of them are worn on the body. Watches and glasses simply aren't comfortable for every sport, or every athlete. The Trace action sports activity monitor being developed by California's ActiveReplay pulls the hardware off the body and puts it somewhere more comfortable – on the board. It also adds some tracking functions geared specifically for board sports.
Similar in form and function to the Suunto GPS Track Pod, the Trace is a small, puck-like sports monitor with GPS and 9 axis sensors. It mounts to any hard surface with the included adhesive mount and works at the press of a button. Because the mount is a separate piece, you can easily remove the Trace when you don't want to use it and get multiple mounts to use the unit with different boards.
Out in the field, the Trace records and stores data and then connects with your smart device via Bluetooth 4.0, uploading the data to ActiveReplay's servers where you can view and share it. It's powered by a 7-hour rechargeable battery and is shock- and waterproof. The hardware works with separate skate, snow and surf apps, all of which will be available for both Android and iOS.
In addition to standard-on-every-performance-tracker measures like speed, vertical and distance traveled, the Trace is being specifically programmed for its three board sports. Expanding upon algorithms developed for ActiveReplay's original offering, the AlpineRelay snow sports app, the Trace delivers advanced measuring of airs and tricks. It recognizes specific tricks and moves, including skate kickflips and ollies, snow backflips, and surf airs and turns, keeping track of metrics like the number of tricks you did, how clean your landings were and how much air you got. The idea is to give board sports enthusiasts a more insightful monitoring system that measures their more complex, three-dimensional movements. Snow sports users will also get information about the lifts and trails they've been on.
Like any good wireless gadget in 2013, the Trace has a social element. After uploading your data, you can share it on Facebook and Twitter and also compete on ActiveReplay's leader boards. In addition to just sharing and competing, the social element includes an "explore" feature that lets you get some insight as to what types of sessions others are having before deciding where to spend your time.
ActiveReplay intends for the Trace system to improve over time, recognizing more and more tricks and becoming more robust once skaters, surfers, skiers and snowboarders start using it regularly. The company also says that it'd like to make the Trace work with all action sports, including kiteboarding, windsurfing and mountain biking. Each sport requires specific data collection and programming, so it could take a while for Trace to be extended beyond its initial three sports, assuming it ever is.
ActiveReplay has built out a near-production prototype of the Trace and says that the production version will look much the same. It is still trying to finalize its manufacturing, as well as finish the data collection and apps, and is seeking $150,000 on Kickstarter to push off toward the finish line. With just over two weeks left, it's raised $110,000 of that goal. The $99 "early bird" pledge is already sold out, but $129 pledges you into the "beta tester" group, with an estimated delivery window of February 2014.