Fitness Safety Tech Accessories

Jolt Sensor sits on your head, makes sure it stays there

The Premise. Head injuries and concussions are always serious and must be treated accordingly. Short of going to the hospital, however, it’s difficult to detect when a concussion has occurred. Athletes are especially susceptible to such dangers and need to be constantly monitored for safety.

The Product. The Jolt Sensor is a small device that lives on an athlete’s helmet, headband, or goggles. It’s white, discrete and hooks up via Bluetooth to smartphones. The Jolt Sensor is sensitive enough that it can detect when a concussion may have occurred based on the wearer’s head’s acceleration rate. When such an injury has been sustained, it sends a signal to a parent or coach altering them to the player’s condition. Jolt runs on a multi-week battery and can be recharged using a USB cord.

The Pitch. The campaign video goes through the dangers of head injury as well as the common occurrence of athlete’s getting back into the game too quickly after being hurt. One of the creators had one such injury wrestling and sustained brain damage due to improper care of his concussion. The rest of the campaign goes into specs of the Sensor as well as the manufacturing schedule for the product. Jolt Sensor is looking to raise $60,000 in a month on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Early birds can enjoy the Jolt Sensor for $80. At a regular rate, the Sensor will cost backers a $100 donation. Bigger tiers offer multi-packs of the product. Sensors are expected to be delivered in May 2015.

The Potential. Any way that athletes can be safer is always welcome. Many are pressured to push through their injuries in the name of the game, so it’s great that Jolt Sensor has found a way to support an athlete’s claim that they may be seriously hurt. The only apparent drawback of the Jolt Sensor is that, if fallen directly upon, it may break or push a dent into the wearer’s head. Still, the idea that concussions can be detected early and treated is a welcome concept for members of any sports team. 

Sports Tools

SpinGen puts its spin on tennis racquet strings

The Premise. The best tennis technique involves not only a firm grip and good racket, but also a spin on the ball itself. This spin allows the ball to move in an arc, which makes it easier to get over the net. It also can push the ball to the opposite side when it hits the net itself. Tightly wound rackets get this spinning effect, but it lasts for only a short time.

The Product. SpinGen is a device that gets the best use out of your tennis racquet. It creates a rougher quality in the strings so that they produce more spin. The product is a plier-like tool that one clamps around the strings in the “sweet spot” of the racket. It roughens some of the strings, while others remain smooth so that the strings themselves can easily slide against each other creating spin and flexibility at the same time. One must simply clamp around the string in question and apply pressure until the string is a bit rougher. 

The Pitch. SpinGen’s campaign video features epic music along with the basic physics involved in the game of tennis. For the rest, the creator displays lots of up close photos of tennis racquets and strings. SpinGen needs to raise $18,000 for a successful run on Kickstarter.

The Perks. One of these tennis-centric clamps goes for $35 with an estimated delivery date of September 2014. Higher reward tiers offer several SpinGens at discounted rates and climb up to $280.

The Potential. SpinGen is one of those products that solves a problem that few know about. There are tennis strings out there that are already rough. The creator argues, however, that it’s best to have a combination of rough and soft strings for the best game. SpinGen is a great way to produce such an effect, but will probably be useful only to pro tennis players. While an interesting product, the SpinGen needs to find a place in the very niche tennis market for success. 

Personal Transportation Sports

Kuberg Free-Rider gives electric bikes the power to play

The Premise. Gas powered motorcycles are becoming harder and harder to use for pleasure, due to rising costs and environmental restrictions, while their electric counterparts are mostly made only for young children or to cruise at low speeds.

The Product. The Kuberg Free-Rider is different. With a weight of 84 pounds, and a 2 kW BLDC motor, the Free-Rider can get up to 34 MPH for about an hour supporting a rider twice its weight. With quality forks, suspension, and brakes, this bike is meant for catching air and enjoying the thrill of the ride.

The Pitch. Kuberg learned how to make a quality electric motorcycle by first offering children’s sizes and models. Now realizing that the next step is to apply the same technology for teenagers and adults, they show off the Free-Rider in action as it hits off-road trails, gets some lift off of jumps, and does some trial riding both indoors and outdoors. This bike is not meant to necessarily replace the performance of a gas-powered alternative, but rather supplement it for training and in places where the exhaust could be harmful. Kuberg needs $100,000 strictly for materials and manufacturing costs, as they operate their own proprietary factories.

The Perks. Hitting the trails on a Kuberg Free-Rider takes a pledge of $1,999, nearly half the retail cost. A stronger-motor model, the RACE, is available for $2,999, and the TREX model, which is a lightweight trial bike, is available to backers in a preproduction model for $4,999. Other bikes are available at a discount for backers starting at $599 for the basic Trial E model that includes mechanical brakes and no seat kit. Additional battery packs are available at the $599 level, as are quick chargers that will recharge batteries in less than 30 minutes. Most rewards are expected to be delivered in September of this year, while the prototype TREX should reach backers in July 2015.

The Potential. These electric bikes have already been popular with younger, smaller riders, so the decision to make more grown-up models makes perfect sense. Aside from their entertaining aspects, electric bikes like the Kuberg Free-Rider could be the next breakthrough in urban transportation, and it helps that this company is paying attention to things like performance and design, not just trying to make an upper-end children’s toy.