Motionize’s Virtual Kayaking Coach Helps US Olympic Team Train For Rio Games

By Rebeca Maia, NoCamels August 02, 2016 Comments

The 2016 Rio Olympic games are right around the corner and one Israeli company is changing the game by giving real-time feedback to kayakers through a virtual coaching system. Motionize’s technology is leading these athletes one step closer to victory, and the US kayaking team is already a fan.

Motionize consists of an app and two sensors – one placed on the boat and one placed on the paddle. It works when a smartphone is propped on the front of the boat and the app is activated. Through its dual sensor technology, it immediately reports on distance per stroke, strokes per minute, stroke length, number of strokes per session, the ratio between the efficiency of your technique, and more.

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American kayaker Maggie Hogan, who is part of the US Olympic team, has openly professed her support of Motionize, which she has been using to train for the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Hogan recently told Sports Illustrated that Motionize makes a big difference in her training, since coaches can only observe the athlete from one side and the naked eye often misses important details.

Motionize, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive report of her full body motion; sprint canoer Michele Eray, Hogan’s coach, has said that the app can observe the exact catch point of the water, as well as exit points, which are essential to better Hogan’s overall performance.

Motionize virtual coach for canoeing

Hogan used to film her training sessions in order to detect errors in her technique by watching these videos with her coach. Now, Motionize computes all that information for her and delivers it in a much faster way.

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Guy Aharon, CEO and co-founder of Motionize, explains that the system works by using an algorithm that converts the athlete’s movements into a mathematical module that quantifies the motions of the athletes.

“Our goal is to improve technique,” he tells NoCamels. “In sports and in life, if you have a good technique it means you can improve your performance. And if you improve your performance, you simply enjoy it more.”

Remotely coaching water sports

This virtual coach proposes a solution to the inherent setbacks of coaching water sports during the race. Whereas it is possible to coach athletes during a break in many other sports, correcting a kayaker’s technique during a match is much harder – you simply can’t make the athlete abandon the canoe and swim toward their coaches to hear what they think about their backstroke. However, with Motionize, you can have that information right on top of your canoe.

That’s how Motionize “can compare the optimum motion and the actual motion,” says Aharon. “When we see any deviations or differentiation, we actually provide the user with instructions.”

Expanding to additional sports 

Founded in 2012 by Aharon, Eyal Postelnik and Sivan Postelnik, Motionize has so far raised over $2 million from private investors, and is on track to reaching $5 million by the end of this year, Aharon says, and adds that Motionize plans to expand its technology to other sports in the future.

A canoer himself, Aharon was prompted to create these technologies for the curious and passionate niche of athletes who, just like him, were willing to invest money in the sport but didn’t find a wide variety of gadgets that could contribute to their performances.

Motionize's kit

Motionize’s kit

The standard dual sensor offered by Motionize costs $499. Motionize also offers a lightweight paddle edge that costs $249, offering only one sensor to be placed at the paddle. Motionize recommends waterproof cases to protect the smartphones while the app is being used, transmitting the much needed guidance to the kayakers.

Photos and video: Motionize

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