Building a rig to make smart swim goggles smarter

Building a rig to make smart swim goggles smarter design team

Tochukwu Ayadiuno, Josie Berry, Robyn Beyleveldt, Charlene Harasym and Naomi Jung

The challenge

In 2019, Vancouver-based company FORM developed the world’s first smart swim goggles that collect real-time metrics on a swimmer’s stroke rate, distance per stroke, pace, heart rate and more. For the next generation of their swim goggles, the company wants to incorporate data on head movement when doing the front crawl. Swimmers are interested in this metric to improve their technique and speed, and to reduce injury. 

FORM asked us to find a way to validate their algorithm with a controlled test rig that mimics head pitch and head roll. 


Our design solution

We designed and built a functioning rig to replicate the biomechanical rotation of a swimmer’s head in the pitch and roll directions during the front crawl. 

We used SolidWorks for the design and then 3D-printed various components in PLA along with machining the pitch extension arm in aluminum. The electrical components include two servo motors – one for each direction – that are controlled by an Arduino Mega through an interface where the user can set the desired angle range, speed, and test duration. The pitch and roll motors create rotations of +/- 135 degrees in the roll direction and from 0 to 90 degrees in the pitch, within one degree of accuracy.


SBME Design Poster


Our process and the challenges we faced

We met with the client to understand their needs and requirements, from the “must haves” to the “nice to haves.” From there, we identified potential solutions, tested them out and finetuned them over multiple iterations. This included choosing the motors, developing the user interface, writing the code that runs the motors and integrating it all together. 

Throughout this process we drew collectively on the knowledge we’ve acquired from our courses and co-op positions, as well as a lot of independent research. 

While we worked on everything as a group, different team members took on more responsibility in areas to reflect their particular expertise or interests, be that mechanical, electrical or general coding. 

As in any project, there were challenges, including an issue early on with cantilevering. Other challenges came from areas where we didn’t have as much prior experience, although this was also a great opportunity to learn new material. 

What we’re most proud of

All of us have done our degrees during Covid, with online rather than hands-on labs. 

This made it all the more rewarding to build a physical product of this scope that integrates so many different areas of engineering from our degree. 

We worked really well as a team. Coming into this project, we all had the same high expectations. We had a great time bouncing ideas off each other and working together to advance our ideas for a shared goal. 

Finally, it’s been rewarding to work on something that’s very useful – our work is providing FORM with a device that can help them build a better product for their customers. 

When the new algorithm is validated and incorporated into the goggles, swimmers will be able to track data that can help them adjust and optimize their technique. 


Our project’s future

We’ll be submitting our rig, its design and instructions on how to make and use it to our client. This will enable them to validate their algorithm and make adjustments if needed so they can incorporate the new metric into their next generation of high-end swim goggles. 

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