Even with tech devices getting smaller and smaller, it requires a collection of them for athletes to take multiple biometric measurements while training. The creative minds behind the Kuai headset are an athletic bunch of tech-sector businessmen who wanted to make it simpler and less cumbersome to collect a wide range of biometric data, so they invented the Kuai. The headset allows athletes to train smarter, safer and achieve performance goals more efficiently with real time coaching by combining the heart rate, foot strike (for running) and other biometric sensors into a lightweight, wireless headset.
The designers are calling the Kuai the world’s first biometric headset designed for all sports. Earlier this year we covered The Dash earbuds from Bragi which offers many of the same features, but are apparently quite far behind schedule with production. The Kuai headset is very close to fruition, with the research and development phase complete.
The team at Kuaiwear has working prototypes, and live demos will be held at Ironman 70.3 Boulder on June 13th. All that’s needed now is the funding to go into production, so their Kickstarter campaign goes live today with a great discount for early supporters…
The Kuai measures your data by using biometric sensors built on Valencell’s PerformTek technology. The headset has been clinically validated as an accurate measure of your biometric data through extensive testing at Duke University’s Center for Living. On first use, you perform a fitness test to determine your personal heart rate zones and another test to figure out your stride. The headset also comes with a preloaded VO2 max test and respiratory rate test so you can track your fitness level over time.
The Kuai is intended for athletes of all sports, including swimming. The headset can monitor heart rate via infrared pulse oximeters (similar to what’s used on the LifeBEAM helmet sensor), which also estimates VO2 max. That data combines with your weight, height and gender to estimate calories burned. The built-in accelerometer gauges steps/swim strokes to calculate pace and gait. It can also collect data from wireless devices like bike cadence sensors via BLE or ANT+, or connect to Kuai’s own speed/cadence sensor to determine distance cycled.
The headset provides voice feedback and alerts that are configurable, and users can set goals and hear voice indicators when they’ve been met. While this idea is still in development, the Kuai will also be able to download professional training plans from top athletes around the world (which will involve fees on a monthly or per-use basis) or play back your own customized plans.
The headset also functions as an MP3 player, and can wirelessly answer phone calls via Bluetooth. The Kuai can operate autonomously with its 8GB of internal memory, but (obviously) must be connected to mobile devices in order to answer calls or stream music. The ear buds are designed to allow external noises to be heard, too, helping you stay aware of traffic or other trail users.
The user operates the headset with two miniature joysticks located at the bottom of each earphone. The right side controls the sport functions, and the left side answers phone calls and controls your music. The battery provides up to seven hours of life, and the headset goes into sleep mode when its motion sensor determines it’s been put down. The Kuai headset is waterproof to three meters, and features Kuai’s Sport Lock Technology ergonomic design and three different ear tips to ensure a secure fit during various activities.
Users setup the headset and access their workout data through Kuai’s free app, which is compatible with iOS or Android mobile devices and PC or Mac desktops. Data can be exported to fitness apps like Strava in the .FIT format, and the Kuai was developed on an open platform to allow interaction with other training apps as software is updated.
The Kuai headset’s Kickstarter campaign begins today, and runs until July 9th. It is available in white, black or a limited edition with green accents for Kickstarter buyers, and the shipments are slated for November. As added perks, Kickstarter supporters get free software updates for life and the first crack at trying new features as they’re developed. The first 200 buyers will be able to snag a headset for $99 USD which is 60% off the eventual retail price. Check out the Kuai headset’s campaign here.