About this project
ALPHA BACKERS ARE THE A - TEAM! WE HAVE NOW REACHED OUR FIRST VALUE ADD GOAL!
WE DID IT! WE RAISED $250K+ SO WE CAN OFFER A SECOND COLOR CHOICE!
NEW NEW NEW NEW!!!!!
Is it remotely possible to double our pledges in 4 days? IT CAN BE DONE! IT HAS BEEN DONE!
If each of you can get a friend to MATCH YOUR pledge, we CAN MAKE OUR OTHER VALUE ADD GOALS!
AN INCENTIVE TO CONVINCE A BUD TO PLEDGE… T-SHIRTS FOR ALL!!!!!!!!
(If your pledge level already includes a T-Shirt, we will send you a second T-Shirt of your choosing. If your pledge level includes three or more watches, we will add additional T-Shirts beyond the one gift offered if you increase your pledge by $5.00 for each additional T-Shirt you want.)
WHAT ARE WE TYPE A FOLK SHOOTING FOR?
AS WE PASS $400K EVERY PLEDGE @ $99** or up will receive ONE super coveted, sought after “I’m an ALPHA MALE” or “I’m an ALPHA FEMALE” T-Shirt.
IF WE CAN RAISE $500K+ (BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!) WE WILL INTEGRATE WITH FITBIT!
IF WE CAN RAISE $800K+ WE WILL CREATE A HEART THUMPING INTEGRATION ACTION APP!
And they said it couldn't be done!
Alpha is the world’s first strapless, continuous heart rate monitor watch you can wear on your wrist tested EKG accurate even while you are running at performance speeds of up to 20kph (12mph).
* In the video, we are using our ANT+ version of ALPHA transmitting to the iPhone. Our BT4.0 implementation does not require a dongle with the iPhone since the iPhone includes the BT4.0 chip set.
What are they saying now?
So what’s so cool about Alpha?
Before Alpha, the most common way to get an accurate heart rate continuously while exercising was to wear a strap around your chest that transmits the electrical signal from your heart to a watch. In 2001, Liz Dickinson invented the MIO heart rate watch. MIO was the first heart rate watch to provide heart rate without a chest strap by using finger touch technology - the user needed to touch the sensors on the face of the watch to get a reading.
Not until Alpha has there been a solution to display EKG accurate heart rate continuously, even at performance running speeds of 12mph. Actually, we know it is accurate at speeds even higher than 12mph but try finding a test subject that can run that fast! Alpha has been tested to be EKG accurate by Philips Electronics and also by an independent test facility at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The results have given us confidence in Alpha’s performance and accuracy.
Easy to use – really!
The great thing about Alpha is that it now makes heart rate monitoring easy and accessible to everyone. What could be simpler than putting Alpha on your wrist and seeing your heart rate at all times? Alpha is intuitive. Only two buttons to push and only the most essential features:
- Continuous Heart rate
- In and out of heart rate zone alerts ("Fast-Glance" Tri-Color LED plus audible alarm)
- Last run stats review (total run time; “in zone”, average and max heart rate)
For other functions such as speed, distance, pace, GPS etc., use your favorite smart phone app. Alpha is compatible with all smart phones via Ant+ or BT4.0.
Or, if you have an interest in app development, you can design and develop your own iOS or Android apps to make use of the continuous heart rate data transmitted from Alpha. The only limit is your imagination. Just think of all of the possibilities to combine heart rate with phone, GPS, camera, video, accelerometer… Kind of turns that propeller, doesn’t it?
Ain’t she sweet?
Alpha is a work of outstanding and thoughtful design. It is highly functional but extremely simple and beautiful to look at. It is comfortable to wear all day and fits a broad range of wrist sizes.
Why is this technology important for athletes?
Whether you are training during the on or off season, monitoring your heart rate is both useful and beneficial in many different ways. By tracking your heart rate while training, you are easily able to control the intensity of your workout, while also discovering what areas might need some extra attention. It is not uncommon for athletes to overwork between seasons, which can cause more harm than good in the long run. Knowing the patterns of your heart rate well can possibly mean the difference between sustaining an injury from working too hard, or simply not working hard enough. Heart rate monitoring adds accuracy to and optimizes every workout, ultimately leaving athletes well trained and productive.
But what about the rest of us?
Heart rate monitoring is not only useful to athletes; it should play a significant role in your everyday life as well. Wearing a heart rate monitor while you exercise can help you reach the appropriate speed and intensity necessary to achieve your fitness goals. It's important for a healthy brain and staying young, weight loss, preventing disease, optimizing workouts, and managing stress. Life today can seem impossibly busy at times, but it is important to always maintain your health and fitness. With the Alpha on your wrist you can make the most of that effort, maximizing your workout and minimizing your time.
Can ALPHA be used to measure my resting heart rate and in every day life?
Alpha's technology has been specifically optimized for running and biking because those activities have previously posed the most significant challenges to strapless heart rate monitoring. But certainly ALPHA can be used to do fitness tests - measuring how fast your heart slows down after vigorous exercise; or to monitor your resting heart rate over time (which can yield important info about your health and fitness). It can be used while walking, moving around, sitting at your desk, in all types of daily life activities. But the real challenge we had to overcome - the thing that makes ALPHA the Holy Grail of Heart Rate - is how well it works in those high intensity performance activities like fast running.
What is the technology used in ALPHA to sense heart rate?
The ALPHA uses electro-optical technology to sense the heart beat. A “classical” version of this technology has been employed in hospitals for many years. It works well when applied on the ear or forehead and if the person doesn’t move too much. It simply fails when the person is running instead of sitting still, and the more so if the measurement device is worn on the wrist. The ALPHA contains a disruptive innovation that upgrades this existing technology so it is able to show the heart beat of runners. With these enhancements to the technology the heart rate is both measured and shown continuously in one single wrist-worn device.
How does it work?
Two light beams and an electro-optical cell “sense” the volume of blood under your skin. Because the blood volume pulsates in the rhythm of the heart, so does the signal from the electro-optical cell. This signal is processed by an advanced electronics circuit and passed on to a highly specialized computer program that is embedded in the ALPHA. To date, the stumbling block with this type of technology has been that arm movements while walking or running strongly interfere with the electro-optical signal to the point that it is no longer possible to extract the heart rate from it. In order to solve this problem the ALPHA has been provided with a separate motion detector. The computer program is able to use the information from this detector to compensate for the disturbance that is generated in the electro-optical signal by walking or running motions. As a result, the ALPHA can display an accurate heart rate even during motion intense activities.
C’mon, are you really going to pull it off?
It is a bit humbling to look at the long list of those that have tried to do what we have done. We have gone further than anyone. To our knowledge, no inventor, nor company for that matter, has been able to create working prototypes of a strapless, continuous wrist based heart rate monitor that has been tested accurate at speeds of up to 12mph.
To produce ALPHA we have chosen to work with one of the world's most respected factories in the PRC. Our manufacturer, with which my team has a long history, supplies technological products like watches and sports instruments to the biggest watch and sport brands. Our lead Engineer, Manson Fei, lives in HK and travels back and forth to meet with our manufacturer almost on a daily basis. He is managing the project development with dedicated engineering resources supplied by our manufacturer, and with the ongoing consultation and periodic on-site involvement from the Philips' development team.
Most of the technological risk is behind us but we really need your help to get across the finish line. Now that we are confident that the core heart rate technology is solid and can be implemented into a wrist watch, we have to turn our attention to developing the user software so that we can deliver an outstanding user experience for our Kickstarter supporters. We also need to cut manufacturing tools and procure specialized equipment required for our manufacturing process. Here are the major milestones of the project plan.
The amount of funding we require to achieve the final milestones is $100,000. We hope you will find it in your heart to help us deliver this long sought after, valuable and useful technology.
REWARDS FOR PLEDGING
There are great rewards for pledges starting at $1.00 for our monthly tips for "Living the ALPHA Life"; the latest information on training, diet and mental preparation for outstanding health and athletic performance written by ALPHA experts like Dr. Oz's personal trainer Joel Harper, or two time All-American member of the US Taekwondo team and Guinness Book of World Records Holder, Dr. Tom Seabourne.
A $25 pledge will be rewarded with your choice of a triple AAA (AWESOME ALPHA ATHLETIC) shirt. You will be the ENVY of your gym!
And higher pledge levels of $99 or more are rewarded with one or more ALPHA in your choice of either BT4.0 or ANT+.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
If funding goes well we expect to have the first batches of the watch coming out of production around mid November. The first batches will then be sent out to Kickstarter backers as soon as possible thereafter.
We expect that the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) to be $249.
That means early bird Kickstarter backers will be saving about $100 on the Alpha, and regular backers will save $50. Of course we have many special package configurations which each offer their own particular value.
After we have produced enough to satisfy the Kickstarter pre-orders we will make the Alpha available for everyone else.
Whether your goal is to win a race or just live a long healthy life, using a heart rate monitor is the single most valuable tool you can have in your training equipment arsenal. A heart rate monitor will help you optimize your training, build your endurance, and give you the feedback essential to accomplishing your goals. Athletes pose a special problem to the technologies available for heart rate monitoring because their movements are so intense and generally of great speed.
Until now, the only effective heart rate monitoring technique for athletes was a two piece heart rate monitoring system which consists of a belt that you strap around your chest which transmits your heart rate to a watch. Having to wear the strap can be cumbersome and uncomfortable. What is so cool about ALPHA is that the athlete can get heart rate accuracy exactly comparable to the two-piece system, but the technology is self contained in a wrist watch.
To eliminate the need for a strap, we looked at other technologies that have been used to take heart rate. We settled on optical sensing. The way that optical sensing works is that you shine a light into the skin, measure the blood flow through the capillaries and thus can determine a heart rate. The technology to do exactly that has existed for some years - the heart rate monitor finger clip you may see at the hospital uses it. Those technologies could not be used on athletes, or really anyone moving around, because the clutter of other signals generated by noise from movement would interfere with the readings being captured through the optical sensor.
The great breakthrough with ALPHA is delivered through a perfect combination of outstanding technical design of the electronics and sensors, the wearable and beautiful industrial design we created despite significant technical and material obstacles and constraints; and a very complex and proprietary set of algorithms to filter out ambient noise from muscle contraction and arm movement. To create this technology, a very unique group of skills needed to come together. The team needed to be comprised of the best experts in the world in optical sensing, signal processing, sensor design, industrial and electronic design; and manufacturing.
Some people wonder whether the light beams from the two light sources might damage their eyes, or perhaps even their skin.
The risk of such damage has been studied extensively and is laid down in so called safety standards. Compared to these standards the light level from the ALPHA is very much below any safety limit. The green light sources may seem very bright but they cannot damage your eyes, not even from 1 cm distance. In fact your eyes would not be damaged by 1,000 of such light sources, even if you would manage to place them at 1 cm distance, all at the same time.
It will be clear that also the skin, being much less susceptible to damage than the eyes, is completely safe.
No, you don't need a chest strap. The sensor technology the Alpha is introducing for the first time will take the same level of accuracy and detail as a chest strap but does it directly from your wrist, continuously.
There are basically two other kinds of Heart Rate Monitoring devices out there today:
1. Continuous Heart Rate Monitors that require you to wear a chest strap around your chest during your exercise - that's about as uncomfortable as it sounds and if you're a runner you already know this.
2. On-Demand Heart Rate Monitors that you wear but can only show you heart rate at a point-in-time when you touch the device with your fingertips - we know this technology because we were the first ones to introduce this technology in watches over 11 years ago!
The technology the Alpha brings to fitness completely turns the table on these two - it provides the best of both options and more.
Alpha gives you a continuous heart rate reading, in real time as you use it, without the need for 'ye olde chest strap or the need to reach out and touch or hold anything. It sits comfortably on the wrist like a normal watch, it isn't big or heavy and we think it looks pretty good too.
Of course it has “At a Glance Heart Rate Zones” for exercising, a timer, simple two button push operation and even tells the time like you would expect of a watch.
And just for fun it talks ANT+ or Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0) so with a supported device you can connect wirelessly and keep a record of your heart rate during the entire length of your activities!
Although the hints in the software that display on the watch face are in English, the watch is very intuitive and simple to use. It will be possible for us to change the software to accommodate other languages. Initially the packaging and manuals will be in English but we expect to provide additional languages as demand requires them.
The smallest wrist size that it will fit is 32mm. The largest is 57mm.
Although the Alpha itself is not programmable, because the heart rate profile that we transmit is a standard Ant+ or BT4.0 profile, you can program all sorts of interesting and unique applications that can take advantage of the continuous heart rate data.
Alpha will be water resistant to 30m (suitable for bathing and swimming). It is not meant for deep sea diving, nor should buttons be depressed under water. The water resistance will be tested according to International Standard ISO 2281.
The watch has been designed and tested for both runners and cyclists.
Tested use cases include:
● Casual use - walking around home or work, etc.
● Walking or jogging for exercise
● Running - everything from an exercise run right up to marathon or sprint levels should be fine.
● Casual cycling
● Road Race Cycling
● Track Races
The default mode of the watch is “TIME”. Once you activate the heart rate function, it will display heart rate continuously without further intervention.
We have tested Alpha in many different indoor and outdoor lighting conditions and haven't had problems.
No, the first version of Alpha will not include a back-light.
For the first version of Alpha, we are releasing a two tone black/dark grey strap with a pure brilliant white trim around the watch face.
The strap on the Alpha is an integral part of the watch design and cannot be swapped out.
● Strap is 245mm from end to end.
● Thickness at it's highest point is 15.5mm.
● Dimension of the body is 45mm (3-9H) x 42mm (12-6H).
● Screen is 15 by 30mm.
Alpha will send heart rate data to a smart phone and any number of iOS or Android apps can be developed to do all sorts of interesting things with the data. However, this version of Alpha is not designed to accept incoming data transfer.
It uses a lithium re-chargeable battery and a typical charge (while doing Heart Rate Monitoring) will last for about 12 – 14 hours of continuous use.
When just "being a watch" and showing time the charge should last for 9 months.
The watch comes with a USB connector cable to allow you to charge it from any USB source such as PC, MAC or USB wall plug.
The battery itself should last for 300 cycles (300 charges).
The battery is internal to the unit and not something we will expect users to be able to replace themselves. It should be taken to a skilled watch repair technician and cannot be done by the clerk at the watch counter of a local department store.
The Alpha has the ability to communicate over the ANT+ and BT 4.0 protocols. It sends out its data using the standard Heart Rate Profiles to any devices that support these protocols and Profiles.
While it won't work "out of the box" to iPhone 4S or Android it will work with applications that support the BT 4.0 Heart Rate Profile or have ANT+ support (via built-in ANT+ or via an available ANT+ dongle adapter)
iPhone apps that support BT4.0 HR Profile include:
iPhone apps that support ANT+HR Profile include:
● Digifit Multisport Heart Rate Training
● Sleep rate
Android apps that support BTLE HR Profile include:
Android apps that support ANT+ Profile include:
● Smart Training
iPhone: You can buy an ANT+ dongle from http://wahoofitness.com that is compatible with iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, iPod touch and iPad. Wahoo Fitness does not currently have an Android compatible dongle.
Android: Android 3.1 or higher devices can support ANT in USB Host Mode, installing the ANT USB Service and the ANT Radio Service will enable the use of any existing ANT USB2 Stick on that device.
You can find the official press release here: http://www.thisisant.com/news/stories/first-ulp-sensor-technology-to-connect-android=powered-smartphone-and-tablet-platforms
Any device that can accept heart rate from an Ant+ heart rate chest strap will be able to accept heart rate data from the Alpha.
You can check out the Kickstarter FAQ to get answers about how the Kickstarter Pledge and Rewards process works.
See it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/backers
Yes. See it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/backers
The way Kickstarter works is the funding is only given to us AFTER the project ends AND has been successful in reaching the required amount.
If this doesn't happen none of the money is given out and no one's Credit Cards or payments will get processed.
Liz Dickinson has been an inventor and entrepreneur for 13 years. She holds 6 patents in the area of sport and fitness and in 2001 invented the world’s first wrist based on-demand ECG accurate heart rate watch – MIO. Liz has been searching for a way to make Alpha technology for over a decade and has been dedicated to solving the problem of providing accurate heart rate on the wrist (no chest strap or touching), continuously at high performance speeds. When Liz was presented with the opportunity of working with the team from Philips’ Electronics, she seized it even though many large corporations had already passed on the project due to its perceived risk. It is often the role of the entrepreneur to take risks to bring out new and truly disruptive technologies. At considerable personal financial risk she focused her own, world-class design and engineering team on the project, and together with a small development team from Philips, they were able to solve a myriad of problems that had cratered other similar projects. We are very close to crossing the finish line but we still need to bridge a financial gap. Pledging will give you the opportunity to say you were part of this monumental technological breakthrough that is so important to athletes and the rest of us with hearts.
We expect to deliver the rewards in November in time for the holiday gift giving season.
To keep problems with shipping address changing down to a minimum we will be sending out that survey as close to production time as possible.
However we do expect to be posting regular updates both here and on Kickstarter and on Facebook and Twitter.
We're sure that if you don't hear from us enough you'll ask for more!
The rate for international shipping is:
You should include that amount in your pledge in addition to the amount of the actual reward level. For example if the reward level you want is $149.00 then you should pledge $149.00 plus $30.00 for shipping.
International shipping is anything outside of the continental US or CANADA.
For the answer, please see the following flowchart.
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