February 11, 2013
It’s well known that competitive athletes monitor biometrics to optimize workouts and enable peak performance.
Capturing heart rate is easy – if you’re a runner. But what if you’re a swimmer? Do you really want to slap a device on your chest (or your wrist?) to make sure you’re not going over your target heart rate?
Beirut-based entrepreneur (and competitive swimmer herself) Hind Hobeika has come up with a solution called Instabeat– it’s a waterproof, heads-up display mounted on swim goggles. The device captures heart rate from the temple with a visual display, as well as tracks laps, flip turns, and calories burned.
Here’s how the patented device works: a wire connects two infrared sensors on either side of the user’s head. Heart rate is detected from the temporal artery and communicated to the user through a tactile, auditory, or visual signal (or combination). For example, light-emitting diode display mounted within the goggles displays a red, yellow, or green light depending on where the user’s heart rate is registering, indicating to the swimmer the need to adjust speed. The device captures data over time, developing a history of workouts to monitor progress.
While there are a few goggle-mounted devices on the market that target swimmers, Instabeat claims to be the first to monitor heart rate seamlessly and accurately while tracking activity as well as breathing patterns.
Instabeat blends many elements of Hobeika’s background. Hobeika, 24, is a mechanical engineer, a former swimming champion, founder of the Quantified Self Beirut Chapter, and is the first place winner of the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Arab Startup Competition.
In 2010, Hobeika participated in a Pan-Arab reality show called “Stars of Science,” where 16 young contestants are chosen after a casting tour of eight countries (Egypt/Saudi Arabia/Jordan/Lebanon/UAE /Qatar/Tunisia/Kuwait) and given the chance to develop their own innovation project. Hobeika placed third.
Founded in September 2011, Instabeat is already in production and taking pre-orders. The company was one of the featured startups at the recent Tech Cocktail Downtown Vegas Tech Mixer + Startup Showcase.
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