A Letchworth prototyping company has developed the world’s first heads-up performance monitoring goggle for swimmers.
For the first time, information on lap time, distance, speed, average split times, lap numbers, target times and predicted finishing times will float in front of the eyes of swimmers thanks to the pioneering design of a wearable and detachable heads-up display.
The innovative designers at The Imagination Factory, a London-based company which specialises in product design and creative engineering created the SwimAR, a wearable heads-up display to track the progress of swimmers.
The tracking device was the brain-child of Julian Swan, co-founder and engineering director of The Imagination Factory who, when training for a triathlon, noticed that swimming was the only aspect of his performance he couldn’t easily monitor.
Previously the only option on the market was an unpractical waterproof watch.
Wanting to retain their renowned human-centred approach to design, Mark Hester, Imagination Factory’s co-founder and technology director, approached Ogle Models and Prototypes to produce an exacting model for use at multiple exhibitions.
Using Sony SmartEyeglass technology the rapid prototyping team at Ogle set to work on the intricate eight-day challenge.
Len Martin, Managing Director at Ogle, said: “Whilst the design itself was not logistically challenging for the team at Ogle, the part was extremely intricate and demanded precision when selecting the right process, machine and material to use, applying the specified paint and finishing and assembling the individual parts.”
To ensure the part accuracy and precise finishing, Ogle’s rapid prototyping project manager decided to use one of the two SLA Vipers. This machine can meet an accuracy of +0.1mm per 100mm, which was vital in ensuring all the parts, once finished, could be assembled, leaving no margin for error.
The two rubber straps required for the model to remain attached to a swimmers goggles were produced using a vacuum casting process.
The paint and finishing of the model included applying a gloss black on the inside and then lacquer on the outside. To ensure the SwimAR has the clearest viewing panel, it was masked off and sanded back to 400 grade and then lacquered in order to replicate glass.
A yellow strip was also sandwiched between the front and back for the distinctive design feature. As the area was so thin and delicate, the yellow paint was also applied around the side of the part to increase visibility.
After successfully exhibiting at both The Wearable Tech Show and Ideal Home Show, Imagination Factory’s co-founder and technology director, Mark Hester, said: “We needed this to be visually stunning and attract people to the stand and so Ogle were the natural choice. Having worked with them before, we knew the quality would be excellent.
“We were also extremely impressed with how quickly they managed to turn the project around. They have absolutely surpassed themselves! The biggest compliment I can give is that it looks like the real thing.”
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