Sports technology company Form is testing the waters for augmented reality wearables with a product aimed at a very specific user group.
On Tuesday, the company unveiled Form Swim Goggles, a $200 pair of goggles outfitted with a see-through display designed to feed activity data to users in real-time.
The goggles will be available internationally on Aug. 7, but, in the meantime, the company is offering interested parties a chance to win a pair in exchange for sharing their email address or completing social media tasks.
Equipped with an integrated computer, Form Swim Goggles use software to track split times and distance, as well as stroke count and rate. The device offers no text messages, meeting reminders, or music control. Nevertheless, when a user is under water, those typical smartglasses functions may not be as useful.
Arriving alongside the wearable will be a free companion app for iOS and Android that will enable users to track their swimming metrics and share workout data with others. The app also allows users to customize when data appears on the display, ranging from displaying data while swimming to displaying data while at rest.
According to a company spokesperson, the goggles are waterproof to a depth of 32 feet (10 meters). Also, Form claims a battery life of 16 hours, which should be more than enough to accommodate most athletes. (The world record for the longest swim is more than 50 hours, but that's an extreme example, right?)
"I swam competitively for 14 years and really felt the pain of not being able to access my metrics in real time," said Dan Eisenhardt, the founder and CEO of Form, in a statement. "The idea for Form came about many years ago, but we are only now entering a time when technology lets us deliver this experience seamlessly in a premium pair of swim goggles. We're proud that, through a team of top industry talent, we've been able to solve a fundamental problem in swimming."
Before founding Form, Eisenhardt ran another sports technology company, Recon Instruments, which Intel acquired in 2015. Drawing on Eisenhardt's experience, as well as input from other competitive swimmers, coaches, and former Olympians, Form spent the last four years developing the goggles.
"I competed in two Olympic Games: 2004 and 2012," said Scott Dickens, director of strategic partnerships at Form. "At the elite level, everything is measured down to the hundredth of a second. Having access to real-time metrics in your goggles is an absolute game-changer. Form enables both swimmers and coaches to be more in tune with what's happening in the moment. Even if you're not a high-level swimmer, Form makes swimming much more engaging and just plain fun. You always know exactly what you're doing, and you're able to compete with yourself while you swim."
Form fits in nicely with this purpose-built group, finding an addressable market with distinct advantages over incumbent technologies. According to US Census Bureau data, swimming is the fourth most popular recreational activity in the US, though that doesn't account for swimmers who are serious enough about it to track their activity. Moreover, the new device offers a distinct advantage over the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other fitness-focused wearables given its ability to keep relevant data within a users' field of view while their arms are otherwise occupied. Finally, the company is taking a page out of the enterprise AR smartglasses playbook in that the form (no pun intended) of the wearable fits the activity, whereas, on dry land, it would be utterly ridiculous for everyday wear.