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runScribe: Wearable for the Data-Driven Athlete's video poster

runScribe provides a 3D view of how you run. With your support, we can help athletes run smarter, longer, and with fewer injuries. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on September 19.

runScribe provides a 3D view of how you run. With your support, we can help athletes run smarter, longer, and with fewer injuries.

About this project

If you missed our Kickstarter, you can now pre-order runScribe.

"runScribe plans to use crowdsourced data to, hopefully, help prevent any future injuries for people who run avidly."

"Picking the perfect sneakers for your particular stride isn’t as easy as it sounds but runScribe can help."

"Unlike some other running sensors, the runScribe aims to provide detailed information on how a runner's foot moves throughout the running cycle, doing so with the use of a 9-axis sensor."

"The runScribe looks like the perfect accessory for the exercise-obsessed data junkie..."

"Pace, running surface, stride, and impact force information are all data points looked at by runScribe, so the wearable has the potential to save a lot of people from running-related injuries."

What the Experts are Saying

"Not many devices allow for practical change based on data, but I believe RunScribe gives us the tool to translate some of these nice metrics into practical change that influences performance." Steve Magness - Science of Running

 "We can learn so much about the impact of running shoes and running form and how to prevent running injuries." Nick Pang - Wear Tested - Minimalist Running

"My take on the runScribe is that if it can provide accurate data, it could be a very handy tool for use in the clinic, and for comparisons of running in different shoes (I could have a lot of fun with this!)." Peter Larson - RunBlogger

"Now Scribe Labs wearable technology can potentially prevent running injuries by analyzing your running form and running shoes." Nick Pang - Natural Running Center

What is runScribe?

runScribe is a lightweight running wearable that mounts on the back of your shoe and uses a 9-axis sensor to precisely capture the movements of your foot during the gait cycle. The precision measurements, combined with runScribe’s kinematic engine delivers the most advanced set of running metrics available outside of a professional lab environment.

While other running technologies offer limited information – merely tracking steps, distance and speed - runScribe makes thousands of calculations for every stride and reports on 13 detailed kinematic metrics. The scale and detail of data available through runScribe has never been captured in a consumer device, giving athletes, trainers and coaches real-world data to make informed training decisions.

  • Train Smarter: With runScribe, you can compare runs to see how metrics shift over time, the impact of different factors, like terrain, shoe type or distance may have on key metrics, and how your metrics compare with averages from the runScribe community. This detailed information can help coaches, athletes and trainers improve their analysis and make informed training decisions.
  • Ease & Flexibility: runScribe is lightweight, unobtrusive and simple to swap between shoes. Onboard flash memory stores your runs and wireless data sync is available via Bluetooth Smart through iOS or Android. Data is downloadable via your account and is also accessible via the runScribe API.
  • Crowdsourced Data: During any given year, up to 65% of runners experience injury. Many causes, such as past injuries, high mileage, high impact forces, excessive pronation, running surface, and poor shoe selection, have been proposed as possible contributing factors. However, researchers to date have not been able to determine if any one or some combination of these factors are the major contributor to injury. With the ability to create the largest running kinematic databank ever, runScribe has the potential to finally reveal some answers.

Stretch Goal #3 - 1000 Runners!

We're coming up on what truly feels like a magic number to us--1000 runners out there running with runScribe! How cool is that! We'll have tens of thousands of (your) runs within literally the first month. Wow! Talk about crowdsourced data.

In anticipation--we've been working on some new visualization concepts that we'd love to roll-out to allow you to get even more value out of your runScribe. Specifically around shoe comparisons and shoe wear. We'd love to hear what you think?

As always, we can't do this without your help. So please continue to spread the word, and with your (continued) help--we can get 1000 people out there running with runScribe!

Stretch Goal #2 - $125K

Again, we've been listening to the messages that you've sent, and are hearing that you'd like to see runScribe work with the standard ANT+ and BLE Running Profiles.

So if we can make it to $125K, we'll add support for these profiles, allowing you to use your runScribe with any compatible ANT+ or BLE device (a Garmin watch, your iOS App, etc). Giving you accurate speed and distance information, no matter where you're running (on a treadmill or in the middle of the forest).

So once again, we're asking for your help to get us there. We're doing all we can to spread the word, and with your (continued) help--we can make it to $125K!

Stretch Goal #1 - $100K

We've been hearing from a number of you that GPS integration is something that you'd like to see. Us too! But we'd like to do it in a way that combines all the goodness of seeing where you run with the metrics that runScribe captures.

So if we are able to hit $100K, we'd like to add a little flare to your normal GPS maps. Instead of just showing you where you run, how cool would it be to see how your metrics vary throughout your run?

If you already own a GPS watch or run with an App that records your GPS, we'll offer the ability to upload your GPS track into your account and synchronize it with your runScribe metrics.

You've gotten us this far--help us get to $100K! Tell your friends, share on social media. With your help we'll be able to bring you a whole new way of looking at your runs.

Your runScore: Developed from 13 Kinematic Metrics

Your runScore is a measurement of the intensity of your run, based on your runScribe history. It is unique to you, and the score gets smarter over time. To determine the runScore, we analyze the 13 kinematic metrics reported by runScribe and compare them with previous runs. Our goal with runScore is to provide you with a quick way to assess the overall run, compare it to previous runs, and easily drill down into the details to understand why your runScore changes in different environments. While runScore provides you with a snapshot, our data visualization tools will allow you to dig into the details of each of the 13 metrics, which are:

Use runScribe Pro To Do Your Own Shoe Reviews

We admit, we have a shoe obsession. One of the things we love about runScribe is that we can easily and quantitatively measure the differences in our kinematics in different shoes.  We believe that shoe selection is a very individual process (shoe companies would like us to think otherwise).  Even with just a single lap on a track, you can get enough data to see the tradeoffs!

(8) Track Laps in (8) Different Shoes
(8) Track Laps in (8) Different Shoes

On the Trail, Track or Road with runScribe

We designed runScribe to be very easy to use and keep your running pure. The runScribe footpod attaches to the back of your shoe (yes, it needs to be on the back to get accurate measurements!).  We provide two cradle mounts.  A cradle & clip that fits over the back of your shoe and a cradle that is used with removable adhesive (also included).   It automatically starts and stops, so once you've got runScribe on your shoe, you just run.  Data upload is done via a Bluetooth Smart connection to your mobile phone. But don't worry, you don't need to carry your phone with you. runScribe has plenty of storage, so your run data will be there when you're back.

runScribe data can be used to help all types of runners and athletes understand and improve their performance.

Distance Running :

  • Casual Runner: use runScore to quickly assess the intensity of your run; compare with your run history.  Accurately understand pace and distance without GPS.
  • Distance Runner (5K, 10K, Marathon): use runScribe Pro to understand the impact of speed, fatigue, or distance on your kinematics; use that information to adjust your training. Identify your Footstrike Type and see how it changes at race speeds vs training pace. Evaluate Impact Gs, Braking Gs, and Pronation characteristics in different shoes and terrains to determine which shoes best suit different scenarios.
  • Ultra Runner: use runScribe Pro to understand the trade-offs between shoes for different terrain and how fatigue influences your kinematics and Impact Gs towards the end of a long race could be crucial to gaining a competitive edge. 

Track & Field :

  • Hurdles: use runScribe metrics to analyze flight time over the hurdle and determine if it changes throughout the duration of a race, and review Contact Time, Stride Rate, Impact Gs, and Braking Gs to better understand the detailed kinematics of the steps between hurdles.
  • Sprinter: track kinematic metrics like Contact Time, Swing Excursion, and Acceleration Profile to better understand the differences in each phase of the sprint. 200/400/800m? What metrics change in the turns?
  • Jumper: use Contact Time, Impact Gs, and Braking Gs to better understand your approach in the critical last two steps before takeoff.

Which runScribe is right for me? Starter, Pro, or Science?

runScribe Starter
You just want a quick look at your runScore - to get an idea of the intensity of your run, but aren't really sure that you need to dig any further. 

Includes : 1 runScribe, 1 clip-on cradle, 2 silicone cradles, 2 packets of adhesive, 2 CR2032 batteries, and a 1 year subscription to with access to limited metrics: # of FootSteps, Distance, Pace, Stride Rate, Stride Length, Contact Time, and Foot Strike Type. (You can upgrade to Pro at any time)

runScribe Pro
You want to see your runScore and access to all 13 kinematic metrics - and be able to explore where and why there are differences!

Includes : 1 runScribe, 1 clip-on cradle, 2 silicone cradles, 2 packets of adhesive, 2 CR2032 batteries, and a 1 year subscription to with access to all of our advanced metrics.

runScribe Science
You want access to the raw data (accelerometer, gyro, and quaternion) to see every detail that runScribe captures. Have you got a research project or another idea in mind other than running?

Includes : 2 runScribes w/ high capacity flash memory, 2 clip-on cradles, 4 silicone cradles, 4 packets of adhesive, 4 CR2032 batteries, a High Speed Download Adapter, and a 1 year subscription to with access to everything that runScribe captures. (You'll also get all the advanced metrics that come with runScribe Pro)

Raw Data available w/ runScribe Science
Raw Data available w/ runScribe Science
Raw Data - Impact and Braking Gs
Raw Data - Impact and Braking Gs

Product Specs

  • 9-axis kinematic sensor with integrated motion processor
  • Onboard flash memory that stores your runs
  • 30+ hours of operation from a replaceable CR2032 lithium battery
  • Customizable RGB status LED (pick your favorite color!)
  • Wireless data upload via Bluetooth Smart (iOS and Android)
  • Data download will be available via API supporting ANT .FIT, Garmin Training Center XML (TCX) and .CSV
  • runScribe total weight on your shoe is 15g and measures 35x25x7.5mm (Updated 08/26 : Corrected error in dimensions)
  • 2 shoe mount options: clip-on cradle & silicone adhesive (removable) cradle

Who is Scribe Labs?

We are driven by our belief that by capturing real-world performance data, we can advance the field of sports science and help athletes, coaches and trainers make smarter training decisions. Founders Tim Clark and John Litschert met in 1993 at the US Olympic Training Center (USOTC), where they were part of a team that developed a cycling model using power pedals and 3D video. Over the next two decades they remained close friends. John, a biomechanist, stayed involved in sports science at the USOTC, while Tim headed to Silicon Valley and became the principal engineer behind some of the world’s most popular video game peripherals. With early access to emerging sensor technologies, Tim began prototyping a lab-grade system for everyday use in cycling. John took one look at the system and said, “You ever try putting this on the back of a shoe?” Over the next several years, Tim designed, developed and tested hardware and new algorithmic models to capture powerful sensor data while John worked to translate that data into a comprehensive analysis of how an athlete runs. runScribe was born.

Where We Are in Development

We’re in our 6th generation of prototypes with our design house in China, and we’re very happy with where we are with our runScribe hardware.  We (along with select partners) have been running with the current prototype since January 2014. 

We have over 800 runs uploaded into our database.  In July we were provided detailed 3D validation data by a university partner, which allowed us to refine our footsteps model, and has given us great confidence in bringing runScribe to Kickstarter.

Currently, we’re focused on:

  • Completing the app development for Android and iOS
  • Continuing work on the data visualization
  • Finalizing firmware on runScribe

With that, we’re on track to begin production of runScribe in October, and we’re excited to keep all our backers updated on our progress!

Progress on runScribe hardware, as measured by Tim, in his garage.
Progress on runScribe hardware, as measured by Tim, in his garage.

Production Timeline

Goals of the Program

We’ve been very fortunate to work with a number of athletes, partners and academics who have been really excited about what we’re doing with runScribe.  Their enthusiasm has made us confident that we're introducing a product to the running market that people will use and love.  There are a lot of ways to bring a new product to market, but we chose Kickstarter with a few goals in mind:

  • We want to validate that the mainstream running community is interested in detailed kinematic metrics. The running geeks we’ve talked to all love it, but Kickstarter will help us understand what the broader running community is looking for.
  • We want to get feedback on our data visualization techniques. Presenting this level of information is challenging, and we want to make sure we get it right.
  • We want to build a community of runners who are interested in creating a database of kinematic metrics that we can use to answer some of the bigger questions in the running community.

That's It (For Now).

Follow runScribe on TwitterFacebook and our website.

And thank you; with your help we feel like we can make a real difference.

Risks and challenges

We’ve done a lot of technical feasibility and development work on runScribe to get to this point. Our founding team has years of experience bringing technology products to market, so we are confident in our ability to source components and produce runScribe. We currently have pre-production runScribes that are being used every day by us, as well as a few select partners that include university sports programs, as well as coaches, trainers and individual athletes. We have been refining our product based on real use and feedback by these experts. As we get more data, we will continue to refine our footsteps model. One way we have designed runScribe to be optimized for the future is to make sure that it's firmware can be updated via Bluetooth from the runScribe App. So if (let's be honest here - *when*) updates are available, they can be easily done by just launching the runScribe App.

That said, this is Kickstarter, and there are risks and challenges with bringing any technology product to market, including: issues with sourcing components, production and delivery issues, challenges with international sales and delivery, and unforeseen issues that delay our schedules. We promise to do our best to stay on top of everything, and communicate with you all when anything comes up, but it’s a good idea to understand Kickstarter programs come with risk.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • If you’ve got a traditional activity tracker that counts steps or a running footpod that tracks speed and distance, runScribe can replace both of those. runScribe provides deeper data, delivering 13 detailed metrics including kinematic measurements, which have never been available before in a consumer device.

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  • Your runScore is a measurement of the intensity of your run, based on your runScribe history. It is unique to you, and the score gets smarter over time. To determine the runScore, we analyze the 13 metrics reported by runScribe and compare it with your earlier runs to help you assess the overall stress of your run. Our goal with runScore is provide you with a quick way to assess the overall run, compare it to previous runs, and easily drill down into the details to understand why your runScore changes in different environments.

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  • We built runScribe using the same sensor technology used in Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), which are found in everything from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to satellites to the Mars lander. These units work by combining the results from an array of sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers) to precisely determine rotational attributes like pitch, roll, and yaw. These results then feed into our patent-pending footsteps model in order to compute runScribe metrics. You can learn more about some of our validation testing on our blog on

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  • Movement patterns are will be different between your left and right sides, but with runScribe, you can switch the unit from side to side between runs or even the same run. Knowing some athletes will want simultaneous data, we’ve given Kickstarter backers the option to buy a runScribe pack with two runScribes.

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  • Testing has shown that we get the best data when runScribe is firmly attached to the back of your shoe. We’re testing other mounting options—recognizing that there will likely be trade-offs in data quality.

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  • We will provide you with two mounting options. One is a cradle for runScribe attached to a clip that slips over the back of your shoe. Most runners we’ve tested prefer the clip, which can easily be swapped between different shoes. If the clip isn’t for you, we’ll also provide a cradle and removable adhesive that allows you to mount directly to the back of your shoe. We will ship runScribe with a couple packs of adhesive, so you can decide what works best for you.

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  • A runScribe app available for Bluetooth Smart–enabled mobile devices will automatically transfer the stored runScribe data up to our server. Firmware updates to runScribe will be provided via your Bluetooth Smart device and the runScribe app.

    Once you set up your runScribe account, you’ll be able to see all your data and the tools we’ve developed to simplify the analysis on the web site. We’re also working with other partners out there to take advantage of our unique data. Let us know which sites you’d like to see us integrated with!

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  • Nope. We’ve got plenty of storage memory in runScribe, so you just run, and upload your data when you get back via our mobile sync app (for iOS and Android).

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  • This is definitely on our radar, but not a done deal, yet! We built runScribe with the capability to stream speed/cadence/distance via ANT+ Stride Based Speed/Cadence profile, and also through the equivalent Bluetooth Low Energy profile. We plan to survey our backers and determine how much demand is out there for this type of feature from our community.

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  • In any given year, up to 65% of runners get injured. By creating the first crowdsourced databank of kinematic metrics, we can finally have access to real-world information to help understand larger trends in running. We’re planning to look into some of the bigger geeky questions related to Foot Strike Type, implications of shoe selection, pronation, and gait retraining.

    Our goal is to help athletes make smarter decisions that allow them to enjoy the sport they love with fewer injuries.

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  • Scribe Labs does not share, rent, or sell personally identifiable information. A key element of our mission is to use crowdsourced data to help understand issues that runners face and then share what we’ve learned with the running community. With that in mind, your data may be aggregated with other user data to help us (or external parties) do analysis and research; improve the quality of our products, services, tools and web site; provide averages for community members to use for comparison and analysis; or for other purposes we haven’t identified yet. But, we will remain committed to ensuring data will not be personally identifiable.

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  • Yes!

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  • Our first priorities are to 1.) reach our funding goals via Kickstarter and 2.) make sure our Kickstarter backers get their orders fulfilled. Our plans to sell to the general public, post-Kickstarter are still in the works!

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  • We designed runScribe to the IP7 Standard - which means it's good under 1m of water. So creek crossing should be fine - but no scuba diving !

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  • This has been a 'hot' topic internally. Ultimately, it was to keep size/weight as low as possible, with the longest battery life. CR2032s are really hard to beat!

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  • Yes. You will get a single account that you can upload R+L or R or L data. If you want to share runScribes with family or friends, you're welcome to do so, under your account.

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  • Our goal is to make the data as accessible as possible. We're hopeful that when we launch runScribe we will can continue to offer access to data for free. But given we're a startup, we don't want to make promises we can't we've included that caveat. That said, we're working toward a low/no cost model.

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  • Feel free to post your question in comments, send us a message via Kickstarter, or ping us at We will try to answer all the questions that come our way as fast as we can, and update our FAQ on a regular basis.

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  • In order to support the much higher data requirement, the Science units will include a much larger flash memory - which just isn't required in the non-Science versions. So if you need the raw-data capability then you'll want to get the Science.

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  • Along with access to raw data, runScribe Science will also include access to all of the advanced metrics.

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  • This is something that we spent a lot of time thinking about, given our design goals:
    - water resistant to IP7
    - smallest form factor & lightest weight possible
    - longest battery life possible (hard to beat CR2032 - rechargeable of same size would be ~10hrs)
    - instantly replace (who hasn’t remembered to charge their Garmin b4 a big event?)
    - readily available (can get them just about anywhere--even in bulk)

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  • Neither of us are barefoot runners or are any of our current testers. But, Tim has done a few (short) barefoot runs using kinesio tape to attach the adhesive cradle to the back of his foot. Kinesio tape is tough and has some resistance to moisture, so it is likely your best option (short of using screws!). Tim's data is pretty interesting compared to his preferred low heel drop trail shoes.

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  • Currently -- runScribe requires a Bluetooth Smart Ready iOS or Android device in order to sync/upload the data.

    The runScribe Science Pack does come with a High Speed Download adapter that can be used with a Windows or Mac computer to upload the data -- so that is an option -- if you're really wanting to get hold of a runScribe.

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  • For launch -- we are only offering support on iOS and Android.

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  • The Bluetooth Special Interest Group maintains a list of the growing number of devices that support Bluetooth Smart / Low Energy Bluetooth :

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    Are you a true data geek? Do you want to do something other than run? Can you handle all this data? Then you need the runScribe Science pack.

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    We've gotten a number of requests from teams, so have created the runScribe Team Pack level. You get 10 runScribe Pro packs along with 10 accounts.

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    Be a runScribe sponsor. You'll be the first to receive your runScribe Pro. You'll run with Tim & John in either Colorado or the SF Bay Area. Then review your runScore followed by dinner at a local brewery!

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Funding period

- (30 days)