Blogger DC Rainmaker once said, that in order to get good GPS reception while swimming, an ideal placement for your GPS watch would be at the back of your swim cap. However, the problem with this approach is the inability to access GPS information while we are swimming. Wouldn't it be nice if there can be a voice reporting the GPS information to you as you swim?
Introducing the Platysens Marlin
Platysens Marlin is a Swim Meter designed to tell you your swim performance through voice feedback using a bone conduction headset. Your pace is reported to you as you swim with no disruption to your swim stroke. In open water swims, your swim performance is captured with GPS. In the pool, motion sensors are used when there is no GPS reception. After your swim, you can connect Marlin to your phone with Bluetooth to review your data and update configurations.
Marlin can be set to open water mode or pool mode. In pool mode, performance data is captured with the help of the motion sensors. In open water mode, performance data and navigation is enabled with the help of the GPS module. Both modes feature instant audio feedback. The metrics calculated for each mode are shown below.
- Time Split from Fixed Distance
- Distance Split form Fixed Time
- Total distance and time
- Navigation with offcourse warning
- Distance from next waypoint
- Lap count
- Lap time
- Stroke rate
- Total swim time
How do swimmers remember detailed training programs? Here is one method. Others include laminating the paper, bringing a whiteboard to the pool.
As a feature of pool mode, Marlin's session trainer can store and report detailed training programs. No more paper in a bag!
- Training Programs are stored in Marlin prior to your swim
- Each step of your program is reported with audio feedback
- Control of the steps (forward/backward/repeat) are enabled by buttons or motion sequences
- Training Programs are limited by Marlin's defined vocabulary
- We are working with third party training programs like SwimSmooth for better integration and usability
- Waterproof to IPX8 (Submersion at 1.5 meters for 30 minutes)
- Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery
- Bluetooth Smart Connectivity
- English Voice Output
- Main Unit (65mm x 35mm x 15mm) Weight (35g)
- GPS (Not included in Marlin-P)
- 6-axis G-Sensor
Please note the color and finish of the final product may be different from what is shown. We plan to use ABS or PC material in the production version which may look different than our prototypes.
What is in the box?
- 1 Main Unit
- 1 Bone Conduction Headset
- 1 USB to 3.5mm Audio Charging Cable
The Marlin App will be available on both iOS and Android platforms. The Apps are currently in development and we plan to support the most common phones. Below are currently screenshots from our development. There is still a bit of work to be done to refine our App and to ensure compatibility across different phones.
Synchronizing Data to Marlin
After your swim, data from Marlin can be synchronized with the Marlin App. A summary of your workout will be displayed on the Marlin App. This video shows a working example from our prototype device.
Adding a Course in Open Water Mode
Open Water Mode Settings and Workout Summary
Pool Mode Settings and Workout Summary
The Marlin prototype has been tested since December, 2015. Our algorithms has been improved after many iterations and feedback. Here are some of the trials we have performed to verify its functionality so far. As we continue our development, we will continue to solicit feedback from our users. We try our best to post our trials on Facebook and Twitter.
First at Science Park
As an incubatee of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, one of the programs to allow us to test our products with real users is called "First at Science Park."Over a period of 6 days with afternoon and evening sessions in June, 2016, we were able to test Marlin with 65 swimmers with over 350 laps swam at the swimming pool at the Science Park. This trial focuses on accuracy of lap times and lap count and the bone conduction headset.
Here are the results from our survey of participants after their trials. A scale of 1 to 5 was used where 5 is the highest score and 1 is the lowest score.
- Loudness of Bone Conduction Headset: 4.1/5
- Clarity of Headset of Bone Conduction Headset: 3.7/5
- Weight of Marlin: 4/5
- Comfort of Marlin: 4.2/5
- Usability of Marlin: 3.9/5
Based on the results from this trial, we have improved our headset acoustic design for better clarity in our prototypes.
Open Water and Triathlon
Marlin was tested on a 5km swim near Chung Hom Wan, Hong Kong on June 26th, 2016. Here is the pace data that Marlin was able to report as the user was swimming. You can actually hear your pace as you swim! The plot shown is real data captured with Marlin and similar plots will be implemented in our App**.
Marlin was tested on a triathlon practise near Repulse Bay, Hong Kong on July 1st, 2016. The plot** shows pace data that Marlin was able to capture. While the headset may not be legal in competition, it is nonetheless a great training tool as the voice will constantly remind you of your pace and splits and push you to perform. This was a drill involving swimming and running.
Marlin Usage Guide
How do we attach Marlin to our goggles? How do we attach the bone conduction headset?
We have tried with many different goggles and most of them can secure Marlin. In the event that the google straps cannot secure Marlin, you can also place Marlin under a swim cap. We chose the bone conduction headset since earplugs do not fit everyone and degrades if any water enters the earplugs. Based on our tests, even in noisy swimming pools, our users have been able to hear the words spoken by Marlin. The best place to place the headset is the bone nearest to your cochlea. Tugging the headset under the goggle straps allow for a secure and comfortable swim.
What does bone conduction sound like? How does navigation work? How do I set waypoints?
Watch Mr. Boxy demonstrate GPS navigation, voice technology and the APP interface of the Marlin. This is a 6 minute of unedited footage showing features of the Marlin prototype. We enlisted the help of Mr. Boxy since the vibration from the bone conduction speaker can be projected as sound waves through the box. In the real application, this vibration is transferred to our cochlea which interprets it as sound.
Why are we on Kickstarter?
We chose Kickstarter to help us reach our target consumers (you) who are passionate about swimming. It's users like you who can give us the best feedback to make an truly amazing product. The funds raised will help to support our production cost, tooling cost and certification cost.
How will we spend the money raised?
We plan to use the funds from Kickstarter to help cover our pilot production. Like other hardware projects, a significant part of the funds raised will be used to cover component cost, which can be high given our low initial volume. The percentage is just an estimate based on our funding goal. As a company consisting of engineers, we have minimized our marketing costs throughout the campaign and plan to focus our resources in the production process.
Marlin has gone through many design iterations and refinements. Please help us bring Marlin to market!
Tell you friends about Marlin on Facebook!
The full retail price for Marlin-P will be $120 and Marlin will be $150, so you're getting a significant discount by supporting us on Kickstarter. We understand the risk of backing a new product like the Marlin and want to reward our loyal customers.
Duties, Fees and Taxes
Please note that you may be responsible for duties, fees and taxes applicable to your region. They are NOT included in the shipping fees.
We believe in the quality of our products. All Marlin models carries a 1 year limited warranty, except if you reside in the European Economic Area (EEA) and you purchased your Marlin in the EEA, the warranty period is two (2) years from the date of purchase. If you have questions at any time, you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Platysens is a startup company located at the Hong Kong Science Park as part of its incubation program. We have been working on sports related products since 2014. This is our first product released under our own company name. Our technical experience cover areas including algorithm design, firmware and software development, circuit design, mechanical design, testing and verification and consumer product development.
Our office is located at Unit 206, Enterprise Place, 5 Science Park Avenue West, Shatin, Hong Kong.
Integrity and Communication
We understand the trust that backers placed on us the moment they make their pledge. We promise to be honest about our progress and communicate frequently to our backers. We believe the only way to grow our company is have satisfied customers.
We have been part of the in Incu-Tech Programme at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park since August, 2014. This is a 3-year program designed to help startups with subsidized workspaces and support services. We can be found under the Incubatees in Programme list.
We are also fortunate to receive funding from Hong Kong's Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) as part of its Small Entrepreneur Research Assistance Programme (SERAP). These funds are used to support part of the research and development cost performed in this project.
“Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material/event (or by members of the project team) do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Innovation and Technology Commission or the SERAP Project Assessment Panel.”
* GPS and navigation features are not available on the Marlin-P
**The plot shown uses data captured with Marlin and is displayed with the help of GPSVisualizer.com and Google Maps.
- We are proud to have our fulfillment plan certified by Floship, a leading crowdfunding fulfillment provider.
- We have calculated the optimal means of shipping Marlin to all markets in a fast and cost effective manner.
- For proof of certification into the fulfillment plan please click here.
To lower shipping costs, we plan to use a traditional mail service with tracking. It is slower but still reliable. Sample shipping rates for single units are shown below.
- USA $10
- Australia $10
- New Zealand $10
- UK $10
- Canada $10
- Germany $10
- France $10
- Spain $10
- Singapore $10
- Hong Kong $8
- Rest of the World $15
Risks and challenges
Challenge #1: Manufacturing Risk
Like any hardware project, going from prototype to product is never easy. Creating a reliable waterproof product often requires iterations and take time. We have members with experience in bringing products to consumers and have started on our production flow now. To further mitigate this risk, we have selected a strong OEM partner who has an excellent track record, with experience in waterproof consumer products.
Challenge #2: Time Risk
As backers ourselves, there is a common trend that all Kickstarter projects are delayed. The best way to reduce this risk is to schedule extra time so that we can meet our deadlines. We have also identified potential delays in the certification, component sourcing and will start early to minimize any delay.
- (31 days)