Finally, gadget-seeking swimmers are getting equal treatment to sportsmen who enjoy dry, electronic-friendly conditions. California-based Finis is out with the Aqua Pulse, a waterproof heart monitor that relies on bone conduction technology to communicate high-fidelity sound via the temple bone to the inner ear.
Monitoring your heart rate is supposed to be the most effective way to train, as you can measure intensity and exertion levels and avoid over-training and under-training. But so far, heart rate monitors have generally been made for wearing on the wrist, connected to a skin sensor normally attached around the chest--a setup that's not really ideal for swimmers.
Proposing another of its swimmer-friendly design is Finis, founded by Olympic gold medal swimmer Pablo Morales in 1993. The company has developed products such as snorkels, swimwear, and a series of waterproof MP3 players.
The small Aqua Pulse clips onto the goggle strap and has an integrated infrared sensor that detects the heart rate by measuring light pulses due to capillary blood flow in the skin. An internal computer calculates the heart rate and communicates it audibly at preset intervals (from 20 seconds up to 5 minutes) talking through the bone.
The idea is that by having this information as they move, swimmers can train in their proper "heart-rate zone" more accurately.
Humans normally hear through air conduction, but because there's no air underneath the water, bone conduction provides the clearest sound quality possible, Finis says.
The Aqua Pulse will sell for $139.99 through the Finis Web site in May.