Last spring we reported on BSX Athletics Kickstarter campaign regarding a new wearable device called the Insight, that was designed to measure a cyclist’s lactic acid levels, along with heart rate, pace and cadence while riding.
Given the brand’s updated information, it appears as though the Insight has gone from the stages of "campaign" to "production"
As previously mentioned, unlike other wearable devices, the Insight doesn’t go on a wrist. Instead, you wear it near your calf in a compression sock. The Insight then sends data wirelessly to a sports watch using the ANT+ protocol. Currently, ANT+ doesn’t have a standard way to send lactic acid information, so the team at BSX has created a bit of a hack. Though, they’re working on getting the standard updated.
What is Lactic Acid and How Does the Insight Work ?
The BSX Insight was designed and developed by endurance athletes Dustin Freckleton and Nithin Rajan who met at the University of Texas in Houston. If it delivers on its promises, this could be a valuable training and racing tool.
“Lactate Threshold" is one of the most common, and THE most effective, performance marker used by competitive coaches and athletes,” says BSX Insight. “For over 50 years it has been the gold standard for performance measurement and has repetitively been shown to be over 95% accurate at predicting race finish order. This means it can be used with near perfect accuracy to personalize the appropriate training intensities of each athlete.”
“When lactic acid starts to build up in the body it does so very dramatically and very quickly,” says BSX Insight.
“This event is known as lactate threshold and it signals a state of imbalance—when the body is starting to depend on less efficient energy sources. Exercise intensities at this level can only be maintained for a short period of time before fatigue and exhaustion occurs.
“Since fatigue and exhaustion are never the goal of an endurance athlete, lactate threshold is an important event to both know and train for.”
The scientific explanation aside, how does the BSX Insight measure your lactate threshold through a wearable sensor?
“The primary sensor is comprised of an LED array that passes light through the muscle belly of the gastrocnemius (also known as the calf muscle), and a detector,” says BSX Insight.
“As the light passes through the muscle tissue, it is reshaped by elements within the tissue (known as chromatophors) to produce a unique signal (similar to a fingerprint) that contains information about the local metabolic activity.
“This profile is then processed by embedded BSX algorithms to analyse identifiable signal features which exist within the profile. When combined together, these are used to accurately generate a lactate threshold curve. Real-time monitoring of this curve allows the athlete to always know where they are along that curve and their proximity to crucial training thresholds”.
According to BSX, after testing the Insight on 400 people, the final working device can collect data at a rate of more than 1000 times per minute, again with 95% accuracy – in a manner that’s painless and quick.
The Insight sells for $369, which is a great price considering what it would cost to have a lactate test medically performed.
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