SPORTS POWER METERS

A post from the Brim Blog

News: Progress and plans

As I’ve been reminded by messages from some of you, it’s been too long since we let you know our progress and plans. So here’s the update.

Over the last few months we’ve been very busy with the boring detailed stuff – testing, redesigning, more testing, more redesigning. No big break throughs, just lots of careful testing and incremental changes to prototypes. Development of our tiny force sensor for use inside the cleat has gone well, and we think we have a good simple design whose behaviour we understand thoroughly. The mathematical processing algorithm, for turning sensor values into cadence, torque and power, is under constant revision as we seek to make it work better under all sorts of strange conditions.

The most important (and most fun) part of the algorithm is taking the accelerometer data and using it to work out cadence, crank angle and pedal angle at each sample point. This is the same kind of technology that allows a Wii control or an iPhone to detect movements, but we need to use it to measure complex rotational movements very accurately. Having the accelerometer attached to the cleat/shoe (which rocks back and forth by an unpredictable amount all the time) makes this a lot more complex than, say, having the accelerometer fixed inside the pedal spindle.  But if we did that then you wouldn’t be able to just step off one bike and onto another and have the power meter come with you…

The algorithm is very complex, but it’s what makes our bike-independent power meter possible. It also gives us extra data for you to work with, beyond cadence, torque and power. For example, it means we can measure your pedal angle (deviation from horizontal) all the way around each crank revolution, something that no other system can do outside a lab. This information will not be available on our first product version, but it will be available on a more advanced future version.

We’ve also been doing a lot of work on the business end of the project, finalising plans for getting from development to product launch and talking to people who can help us implement those plans. For the last two years (has it really been that long?) we’ve been growing the project with very limited resources, but now the time has come to move up a gear or two. Over the next few months we will be taking on a small number of staff, mostly technical, and preparing for production and support.

So, I hear you ask (as so many have before you), when will the power meter be available? Up to now we’ve been very reluctant to commit to a date, because we don’t want to make promises we aren’t certain we will be able to stick to. We’ve seen other startup companies in this business move their announced launch dates back and back again, and we know that as engineers we’re programmed to be hopelessly optimistic (if we weren’t I don’t think we’d be doing this at all!). However, I can tell you that on our current schedule the launch date is September this year. That assumes a number of things fall right way up for us, but it is a realistic date. We will be selling the power meter right here, off our own website. I can’t give you a price yet, or commit to product specifications, just the general “comparable to existing systems” that we’ve stated before. Once again we’re being careful not to make promises until we know we can keep them. We’ll publish more details as we move towards production and launch.

One last thing: lately we’ve been thinking about a name for our power meter. “The Brim Brothers power meter” doesn’t quite cut it, so we’re looking for something with a bit of zip to it. We’ve thrown around a few ideas amongst ourselves, but we’d like to hear any suggestions you might have.

21 Responses to “Progress and plans”

  1. Peter says:

    Glad to see things are progressing.

  2. Phil Ormrod says:

    All sounds very interesting. Best of luck over the coming months.
    PPM for Pedal Power Meter sounds exactly like what should be on the tin. ( As in the paint ad ).

  3. Declan Q says:

    Keep pushing lads. It can’t come quick enough.
    Pulled my foot out a couple of times today so new plates are in order!

  4. Hammertime says:

    And the product name is …. CleatMeter. I will gratefully accept one of the early production units in exchange for providing the product’s name.

  5. Any remote idea on a release date?

  6. GavH says:

    Power cleat.

    Any idea on likely price and release date? I believe the Vector guys are looking at £600 and some time in the next 6 months for theirs.

  7. david says:

    pedal power

  8. J Marze says:

    Why not just the Brim Power Pedal?!?! : )

  9. peter says:

    cant really call it ‘pedal’ anything.. it is a cleat.. otherwise it might be confused with the power meter that IS in the pedal spindle.
    I guess it has to have ‘cleat’ in the name… and ‘power’… so Power Cleat would be a good start.. then why dont you just call it Brim Brothers Power Cleat… ?

  10. Francisco says:

    “The Brim Brothers power meter” could be ziped to “BB METER”

  11. Francisco says:

    or… “BB SENSOR” as it is a power sensor in fact

  12. Jason says:

    Really excited to hear plans are to release in September… will definitely be on the top of my Christmnas wish list!! How about iPedal for a name, or is that just naff?

  13. Rhys Davies says:

    ‘cleat crusher’! i will have the first one rolled off the line if mine is adopted!

  14. John says:

    Great stuff Gents.

    Suggestion: A Wattya -as in watt ya doing. See you on the road

  15. djconnel says:

    But it’s not a pedal, right? It’s a cleat. Or something which goes under a cleat.

    You could always call it the Tensor :).

  16. enda says:

    Hi lads great news , keep plugging it will all come good !! how about “Power foot “

  17. Jon says:

    I think this sounds totally cool! I hope things fall into place for you! As for the name, I work in market research (day job) and would love to help you if you would allow me to. I’m also an MBA student looking to strengthen my resume (night job). I would be willing to consult on research objectives, methodologies (for naming, messaging and price), fielding and analysis (I’m sure you have plenty of smart mathematicians on staff though).

    I would very much appreciate the opportunity to work on a project like this.

    Thanks!

    Jon

  18. Hammertime says:

    Please see http://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=68429 . What effect will non-round chainrings, such as q-rings, have on power measurement? Is that something which can be affecved by the algoithm/parameter selection? Have you done any testing?

    Thanks.

  19. Grumio says:

    For the name, “Brimometer”, perhaps.

  20. Tony says:

    Mash [Meter]
    It would give people street cred (for the hipsters. Hello? A sticker that says MASH?). For people that just want to train the sticker wouldn’t look like a carnival advertisement (like SR*).

  21. Amy says:

    Hi lads great news , keep plugging it will all come good !! how about “Power foot “

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