AquaPulse measures underwater heart rate

finisThe FINIS AquaPulse was announced yesterday, filling a technology gap that I frankly had no idea existed. It makes sense however, that swimmers would have a need to measure their heart rate just like a runner or other type of athlete would. Of course, the issue would be communicating that information to the swimmer, to let them know exactly how high their pulse rate is during training. FINIS has found a way to do that, using bone conduction. Bone conduction devices attach near your ear, and allow you to hear sound underwater.

From the press release:

Utilizing Patented Bone-Conduction and Infrared Technology the FINIS Heart Rate Monitor Maximizes Your Swimming Workout

Livermore, CA – April 21, 2009 – FINIS, the Worldwide Leader in Technical Swimming Development, unveils today the “AquaPulse” heart rate monitor, a small slender workout accessory built for swimmers looking to maximize their workout through heart rate training. Featuring FINIS’ patented bone-conduction technology and a unique infrared heart rate sensor, the AquaPulse will be available in May 2009 for $139.99 at sport retailers world wide and at WWW.FINISINC.COM.

The FINIS AquaPulse uses an accurate infrared sensor that clips to the earlobe in order to pick up the swimmer’s heart rate. By measuring the light pulses due to capillary blood flow in the skin, the sensors calculate the number of beats/minute (b/m) that the body is working. The internal computer within the AquaPulse then audibly communicates this heart rate to the user using the revolutionary Bone-Conduction Technology, a unique sound transfer technology that communicates sound vibrations through the temple bone to the inner ear. Humans normally hear through air conduction, but because there is no air underneath the water, bone conduction provides the clearest sound quality possible. By simply turning the unit on, the user’s heart rate can be sensed and automatically communicated. All functions are integrated into one small unit that the user clips on to their goggle strap and rests on their temple.

The AquaPulse heart rate monitor consistently communicates the heart rate every pre-set time period. The user can program this time period from as little as 20 seconds up to 5 minutes, allowing for continuous feedback during training. It also features an instantaneous heart rate function. The user can simply press a button at any time and their most current b/m will be communicated.

“Current heart rate monitors are meant for running and dryland training, but are quite awkward for training in the water as athletes are hindered by awkward straps and watches. We created the new FINIS AquaPulse heart rate monitor specifically for swimmers so they could continually swim and understand their heart rate without stopping and train in their proper ‘heart-rate zone’ more accurately. Our heart rate monitor features a water proof design that changes both how the heart rate is sensed and transmitted to the user,” says John Mix, President of FINIS.