Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
Eons ago, the Vikings were extraordinarily skilled navigators in the harsh oceanic conditions. According to ancient lore, the Vikings used a magical stone that could pinpoint the sun despite heavy cloud cover, allowing them to navigate in otherwise impossible conditions. Scientists believe the sunstone was the mineral “iolite.”
In contemporary times, several companies are now developing robotic (smart self-driving) cars that can navigate in traffic.
Utah triathletes Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, and Justin Peck have now combined modern-day technologies with IOLITE to help solve one of the greatest challenges of swimming in the open water: navigation.
Like the Vikings magical sunstone that allowed them to navigate in harsh conditions and sail straight, IOLITE can enable swimmers and triathletes to swim along their designated course on a straight line.
IOLITE is the trio’s high-precision GPS tracking device that is placed on the back of swim goggles. IOLITE provides real-time feedback during an open water swim directly to the goggle lens through a small LED array. The LED provides input on the straightest swim possible: Green light means you are swimming along the designated course; yellow means that you are off-course, red means you are way off course.
If you input your designated course before your swim begins, IOLITE can analyze the direction you are swimming. You still have to deal with your fellow athletes and you still have a check for boats, kayakers and if the turn buoys are in the designated location, but the IOLITE certainly helps you stay on course with significantly reduced sighting throughout the process.
Prices at US$199, the unit is well-suited to the triathlete market.
The IOLITE can attach to any type of goggles. In addition to the green, yellow and red directional lights on the LED display, pacing tracking lights provide additional data to be streamed during an open water swim. IOLITE can also tell the distance swum – always a nice feature for open water swimmers.
Post-swim, the IOLITE is also beneficial. Its software T3 provides data on what you can do to improve including distance, direction, speed, and pacing. An analytical playback includes different aspects of the swim and can compare it side-by-side with other swimmers who have swum the same course.
We believe the IOLITE is most beneficial in training swims where you can input your designated course and then practice navigation and pacing in order to improve. The IOLITE is less useful in an open water swimming competition or triathlon where the probability of running into many other athletes, turn buoys not being in the exact designated location, and encountering the unexpected still exists.
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