About this project
PowerPod, made by Velocomp of Jupiter, FL, is a breakthrough bicycle power meter that overcomes the compromises of conventional power meters. We are seeking Kickstarter support to speed-up the shipping date of PowerPod.
Power (measured in watts) is the most important measurement in cycling. For competitive cyclists, more power means faster speeds and longer distances. For enthusiast cyclists, more power means better physical fitness and more calories burned.
PowerPod is a revolutionary, small and light (32 grams) power meter that attaches to your bike's handlebars. PowerPod uses Velocomp's patented power measurement technology, perfected in over 11 years of on-the-road use.
PowerPod measures cycling power and transmits its measurements to your ANT+ cycling computer, such as Garmin or Bryton (there are many more ANT+ bike computers; see http://www.thisisant.com/directory/ for a current list). Your power in watts appears on the bike computer display, and is recorded in the ride file.
What makes PowerPod different from conventional power meters?
No Compromise Price: PowerPod will retail for $299, much less than any other other power meter, saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
No Compromise Accuracy: With sensor readings up to 800 times per second, PowerPod's both-leg measurement system provides accuracy comparable to "gold standard", both-leg crank power meters, and accuracy superior to one-leg power meters.
Here's real data, from 11 different rides totaling over 20 hours on the bike, comparing PowerPod prototype performance against an SRM power meter, a fine product that can cost 7 times the price of the PowerPod:
And PowerPod performance is great in the details: here is second-by-second graph, over a 2 hour training ride, comparing PowerPod prototype performance to an SRM:
No Compromise Calorie Measurement: Unlike inconsistent and unreliable calorie estimates from heart rate straps, activity trackers, fitness apps and websites, PowerPod precisely measures the work you do. It accurately accounts for moment-to-moment changes in wind conditions, hill steepness, and speed, giving you honest, accurate calorie measurement.
No Compromise Installation: PowerPod installation is incredibly easy: just attach it to your bike's handlebars. For a really special setup locate your PowerPod directly under your Garmin, with the optional, machined-aluminum combo mount.
With PowerPod you won't have to change or modify your bike wheels, hubs, cranks, pedals, or bottom bracket. And you won't have to hire a bike mechanic to install it.
No-Compromise Simplicity: Press the PowerPod button to pair it to your ANT+ speed sensor, then pair PowerPod to your ANT+ bike computer; you're ready to ride! PowerPod finishes its automatic, one-time calibration in only 5 minutes, after which power appears on your bike computer display.
No Compromise Reliability: Because PowerPod has no moving parts you won't ever have to return it for servicing of worn-out mechanical parts, or adjustment of electromechanical sensors.
No Compromise Portability: PowerPod's GoPro-style mount system makes it incredibly easy to move PowerPod from bike to bike.
How Does PowerPod work?
PowerPod is based on Velocomp's patented technology that flips conventional power measurement concepts on its head.
Traditional power meters measure the force applied by the rider's legs to move the bike (Power = Force x Speed), using electromechanical strain gauges and electronics installed in specially-modified pedals, cranks, hubs, or bottom brackets.
Instead of measuring applied forces, PowerPod measures the forces opposing the rider, including wind, hills, rolling resistance, and bike acceleration, using a patented combination of accelerometer, air pressure, elevation sensors, located within the handlebar-mounted PowerPod case.
Because opposing forces equal applied forces (Newton's Third Law), PowerPod gets the same result as conventional power meters.
And as magical as PowerPod may seem, its science and engineering is absolutely solid. Over the past 11 years Velocomp has sold tens of thousands of power cycling computers using the same technology found in PowerPod. And today some of the top cyclists in the world use Velocomp products.
Making a power meter that really works is not easy; maybe you've heard about mega corporations that took years to get their power meter concepts out of the lab and into the market.
Perfected in over 11 years of real-life usage, PowerPod uses the same sensors, firmware, and microcomputers found in Velocomp's premier line of power cycling computers.
The design of PowerPod is complete, including electronics, housing design, mount design, and prototypes have been built and tested. We are ready to scale-up to produce PowerPod in commercial quantities.
Use of Funds: We will use Kickstarter funds for three activities: 1) expedited tooling of the PowerPod housing; 2) accelerated receipt of long lead-time electronic components; 3) production and shipment of first production units.
Normally, we would expect to ship PowerPod in April 2016. However, with Kickstarter support we can accelerate the release date of PowerPod to November 2015.
What’s In the Box
PowerPod (retail price $299) includes three items:
1) PowerPod sensor
2) PowerPod mount and mounting hardware
3) USB cable
Optional PowerPod accessories
1) Attach your PowerPod to another bike with the "2nd Bike kit", including PowerPod mount and ANT+ speed/cadence sensor. Retail price of the second bike kit is $79
2) Locate your PowerPod directly beneath your Garmin with the "Combo Garmin/PowerPod mount", made from machined aluminum. Retail price of the Combo Mount is $69.
Additional items you must supply separately:
1) ANT+ bike computer with power display (such as Garmin, Bryton, Timex, etc)
2) ANT+ speed sensor or speed/cadence sensor (part of your ANT+ bike computer setup)
3) USB charger (computer or other device)
The PowerPod has one button and one status light. As you go through the one-time setup (sensor pairing, bike computer pairing, first ride) the status light changes from Red to Yellow to Green. Green means go!
Weight and Size
PowerPod sensor weighs 32 grams
PowerPod mount fits round handlebars, 31.8mm in diameter.
PowerPod sensor dimensions are 57mm x 50mm x 16mm
Risks and challenges
Almost every day now it seems like someone announces a new power meter product or technology. They show enticing pictures (often renderings), and make impressive claims.
And then afterwards, almost always, comes the disappointment of shipping delays, often many months, sometimes several years. And when the new power meter product finally does get out into the real world of outdoor cycling, it doesn’t perform as well as promised.
We understand the challenge: Velocomp has been making power meters for over eleven years, and we know that bringing to life a quality power meter is very, very difficult.
That’s why we are so excited about PowerPod: its technology is refined, and its electronics and firmware are proven. In essence, PowerPod is a smaller, lighter and simpler version of our prior products.
We have already validated PowerPod performance with real data from real prototypes. All of our critical suppliers are long-time partners of ours and are ready to go.
So, what are the risks?
While we are very confident we can get PowerPod to market on an accelerated time schedule, there are some things that are out of our control:
1) an electronics component vendor doesn’t ship on time
2) Tooling delays are encountered
3) Wireless standard certifications are delayed
Because the prototype electronics, firmware, and software of PowerPod are done and already proven, we don’t view any of these potential problems as very risky.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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