There’s an exciting new product that’s been catching the attention of professional and amateur athletes, coaches, physical trainers, dancers, ice skaters and just about anyone who’s serious about physical activity. It’s called Notch. And it’s a great platform for custom software development.
Notch is a wearable 3D motion tracking system that captures and digitally reconstructs physical movements of the human body that most traditional single sensor trackers miss. After rebounding from a 2013 failed Kickstarter campaign, Notch was released for sale in January of this year, and the reception has been good. The Notch system is great for refining movement timing and techniques, increasing athletic performances and reducing the risk of muscle, ligament or skeletal injuries.
At the heart of Notch technology are a series of tiny sensors, each of which contain an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. Notch sensors, which weigh less than ten grams each, are connected to thin elastic straps worn on various parts of the body. The straps are similar to chest straps used to monitor heart rates, but are elastic enough to fit snugly, while still having enough “give” to allow unhindered natural body movement. The adjustable straps are designed to accommodate adult male and female users in sizes ranging from XS to XXL.
When connected to the Notch smartphone app, the user can either choose movement sequences to be followed from the app library, or create a custom configuration, which the sensors will capture and map. When wearing only one or two sensors, captured movements can be viewed in real time on the screen of a connected smartphone. When wearing three or more sensors, however, movements are stored within each sensing device’s internal memory, which will be synched for 3D viewing the next time the app is opened. A maximum of 18 sensors can be worn simultaneously for up to six hours before they need recharging in the charging dock built into the Notch carrying case. Recharging time is less than an hour.
Here’s how Notch works. The user launches the downloaded app installed in his or her smartphone, activates the desired number of sensors, and connects them to the app via radio signals from the sensors’ built-in Bluetooth technology. The modules are situated on various locations around the user’s body, and after standing still for a few seconds to calibrate the system, the recorder is activated. Following completion of the workout, run, swim or other physical activity, the recorded motions are downloaded to the smartphone for review and analysis.
Notch is actively encouraging systems developers, as well as coaches, physical therapists, orthopedists and other exercise, fitness and medical industry professionals to both modify and refine the existing app, and create unique new applications. Software Development Kits, or SDKs, which include the proprietary 3D motion technology, are available from Notch for $379, or about €320 each. Called Pioneer Kits, each starter set contains six sensors, a recharging dock, a clip mount and six adjustable straps for attaching the sensors to various areas of the body. Consumers are also invited to experiment with the app, and can purchase the Pioneer Kit directly from Notch.
Notch recently began offering a line of clothing, including button-front and casual tee shirts with built-in connector pockets for discretely mounting and securing the sensors that record the motion data. The company is also developing a clothing Application Program Interface, or API, that will allow fashion designers to integrate Notch’s technology into any style garment.
Notch’s goal is to take athletic coaching to the next level. Runners, swimmers, boxers – virtually anyone who takes part in athletic activities – can gain valuable insight into their performances, while identifying areas needing improvement. A built-in buzzer will vibrate to identify both good and bad moves, letting the user learn while still engaged in the activity.
Expect more innovative Notch applications to become available in the not-too-distant future. For more information on their 3D motion tracking and feedback systems, visit https://wearnotch.com/.