Heart rate tracking is a common feature of today's wearables, but it's no more accurate than when it's done with a chest strap. But what if there's a better way to measure your performance?
SweetzPot wants to change things up with its new Flow chest strap, which shows you how your breathing affects your running performance. Available on Kickstarter for $169, it'll tell you your ventilation, ventilatory threshold, breathing pattern, and, yes, even heart rate, to teach you how to train better.
It will use this data to calculate a few things, like your athletic sweet spot (get it?). It can calculate and alert you when you get your runner's high, and teach you how to reach it again.
Here's how the tech works: When you breathe, the expansion and contraction of your diaphragm is recorded by a spring steel component, which is then read by the Flow's strain gauge. The gauge conducts a voltage, and the higher the voltage the more you're inhaling, and vice versa. That voltage is transferred to the mobile app, which is then converted into a visual animation in real time.
So why does SweetzPot think that this is voltage-based breathing measurement is better than heart rate? Sagar Sen, co-founder at SweetzPot, told Wareable that voluntary control of heart rate is hard, so that makes it a bad measurement for looking at your physical effort.
"HR doesn't make sense anymore," Sen said. "Breathing is a much more controlled measurement of effort. Flow in liters per minute is highly reactive to the effort made. An athlete breathes more air during high intensity of work and vice versa. This allows one to define training zones that can for the first time be truly maintained. This is why we believe that measurement of breathing will dethrone measurement of HR."
Breathing helps fuel your muscles with oxygen, and the more efficient your breathing the more fuel your muscles have. It's important for anyone trying to keep fit to understand how they breath, so that they can have more efficient workouts with less panting, but it's hard to see Flow upending the heart rate metric, which is widely seen as one of the main metrics for runners especially.
The Flow is expected to start shipping to backers in July and August of this year.