Bold Stroke for Swim Technology

September 19, 2014

Wearable technology is almost everywhere these days — except in the pool.

That's where Konrad Antoniuk jumped in with a senior project that aims to improve swim stroke techniques with the use of a wearable device that gives swimmers stroke-by-stroke feedback.

Making the swim stroke more measurable and objective is familiar waters for Antoniuk, who has been a competitive swimmer for 15 years.

'Most swimmers don't know when they're swimming inefficiently, he said. “Typically, swimmers gauge their stroke quality based on the water resistance they feel and how smoothly they cut through the water. This often results in adapting to a comfortable stroke rather than an efficient one.

“Competitive swimmers rely on coaches for instruction but have to stop swimming to listen,” he said “It's also difficult to get the coaches' constant attention and feedback when you're  practicing with 30 other swimmers.”

The primary goal of his prototype device, called the Real Time Swim instructor, was to eliminate elementary errors in arm position. Its sensors can accurately measure body positions and angles in the water from 5 to 15 degrees to determine the swimmer's exact stroke patterns.

“I designed the Real Time Swim Instructor to provide live feedback so that the athlete can feel the stroke correction while he or she is swimming,” he said.

In the pool, audio beats, with varying tones and frequency, provide user feedback. After practice, swimmers can analyze their swim from data stored in the device's memory.

“From my experience helping coach stroke techniques, I've found that as little as five minutes can help a person improve their stroke,” said Antoniuk. “This project allows users to continuously work on their stroke and feel the difference between improper and proper form instantaneously.”

His firsthand knowledge as swimmer also informed his design and programming work.

“As a competitive swimmer, I know where the arms need to be positioned and where they should go. That helped me immensely in programming a tuned device to measure such a wide range of human-motion values.”

The device does not restrict or alter the swimmer’s natural stroke, so an individual can swim as normally with the gear as without it.

Overall, said Antoniuk, the prototype proved that the Real Time Swim Instructor is feasible “and it shows that wearable electronics and underwater devices can go further than waterproof watches.”

To download the full report go to DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

Photo: Real Time Swim Instructor being tested.


Related link:

Real Time Swim Instructor