We all know that your muscles need oxygen to work, right? While heart rate monitors have been commonplace in cycling for years, a Norweigan company called SweetzPot recently decided every athlete should be able to obtain information about their oxygen uptake… without visiting a laboratory.

Sweetzpot FLOW device, breathing image

SweetzPot’s FLOW wearable device combines a breathing sensor with a heart rate monitor, and provides real-time feedback so athletes can optimize their oxygenation. The brand seeks to answer the question “Can conscious control and awareness of breathing increase physical and psychological performance in an athlete?”

It seems some people believe it will: FLOW claimed first prize in the wearable technology category at the Sports Tech World Cup – Nordic Edition, and is now seeking funding through Kickstarter to complete development and commence production.

The FLOW device is attached to a chest band, and relays its information to your smartphone or smartwatch. If you want to use a phone to monitor your breathing while riding, you’ll need to have it mounted somewhere you can see it.

Sweetzpot FLOW device, sweet spot diagram

The FLOW measures your ‘minute ventilation’, which is the volume of air you expire expressed in litres per minute. The device also measures heart rate and heart rate variability, and perhaps most importantly detects your ventilatory threshold (VT) to identify your athletic ‘sweet spot’.

By measuring the expansion and contraction of inspiratory muscles, FLOW determines your ventilatory threshold (VT), which is the point where breathing becomes laboured and starts to hamper athletic performance. The FLOW’s companion app maps out your breathing pattern in real time, so you can see what you’re doing and adjust your efforts to stay just under your VT.

Sweetzpot FLOW device, app on smartphone and Garmin smartwatch

The app visually displays how you inhale, hold and exhale air, and how your breathing pattern co-ordinates with your movements. After your activity you can review your metric data and other information like duration, distance traveled, average speed, plus average heart rate and flow figures.

The app (iOS/Android) will be compatible with other mobile devices and smartwatches via Bluetooth, plus the device supports Garmin Connect and Strava. The company is also keen to give developers an open-source platform to create more apps or features for the FLOW- For those interested there is a FLOW SDK kit available via Kickstarter which includes access to SweetzPot’s developer center.

Sweetzpot FLOW device, sensor on strap
*Images and video c. SweetzPot

The FLOW sensor weighs just 27g, and its dimensions are 77x43x17mm. A CR2032 button-cell battery should keep it alive for a year, if you use it for seven hours per week (which equates to 364 hours). The device also carries a waterproof rating of IP7.

While the full retail price will rise to $299 USD, Kickstarter supporters can currently snag one for $169. The first FLOW devices are expected to begin shipping in August. Check out the Kickstarter campaign page here.

5 COMMENTS

  1. TrainerRoad had me doing some pedaling drills which I thought was interesting as I’ve pedaled millions of revolutions without ever thinking twice about how to do it optimally. That got me wondering if there is something similar for breathing…is there an ‘optimal’ or more efficient way to breathe?

    • There is, I think trek hired a PhD to work with the team on breathing exercises if I’m not mistaken it was in the daily news section of Cycling tips. A recreational diver chimed in within the comments section basically saying this has been around for ever and used by divers then listed a variety of excercises to do. I can’t dig it up but hope this helps.

  2. At 3 bills this is a little too pricey for me but I wonder how helpful this would be in balancing aerodynamics of bike fit and power output essentially being able to determine the absolute point in which an aggressive position becomes too much and hampers breathing.

    • And then dialing back slightly so you get the biggest benefit of an aero position without compromising FTP, 10, 5, & 1 minute power etc.

  3. It’s an interesting idea, I can see how it can measure your breathing rate, but how would it actually figure out the volume of air that you are breathing? I’m assuming it is just measuring your chest expansion and then extrapolating? I bet rowers will like it.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.