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Kiwi shirt connects with the world

Kiwi shirt connects with the world

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The New Zealand-designed and made Sputnik shirt with built in sensors promises to revolutionise the way athletes measure, track and share information about their performance.

20 March 2008

Kiwi shirt connects with the world

Two New Zealand companies have developed a merino shirt that promises to revolutionise the way the world’s athletes measure, track and share information about their performance.

South Island-based sportswear innovation company i-RULE and Auckland-based smart-fabric physiological monitoring company Zephyr Technology combined forces to create the shirt.

Named Sputnik after the world’s first artificial satellite, the garment incorporates a harness worn around the chest made from fabric with sensors woven into it. This fabric, in combination with specialised electronics, can measure, transmit and record key athletic performance attributes such as heart rate, respiration rate, skin temperature and posture.

How Sputnik Works

After racing or training, the athlete uncouples a transmitter from the harness, places it in a cradle and uses Sputnik software to upload the collected data to the Facebook social networking community website.

The Sputnik wearer can then:

- tweak the training data to remove warm up and cool down elements simply and quickly

- instantly turn data into graphs for ease of analysis

- share training information with others

- comment on others’ training

- have others comment on their training

- manage and share their training history

- integrate into their Facebook 'ecosystem'

i-RULE founder and director Daryl Foy says Nike has thoroughly tested the beta version of Sputnik Facebook software and the global giant rates it highly.

Target Markets

The initial release of Sputnik will be to i-RULE’s well-heeled adventure athlete market, predominantly offshore. i-Rule is supplying the Sputnik system to existing customers who have pre-ordered. It will be available for general release through i-RULE’s online store in spring 2008.

Based on market feedback, Zephyr and i-RULE will work closely to refine and improve Sputnik’s functionality and performance. Daryl expects the demand for Sputnik to be huge.

“Customers spend huge amounts on their sport in terms of equipment, training time, travel, nutrition and advice. They are also avid collectors and monitors of their own performance data. What we have done is provide a wearable, integrated ecosystem for their performance data that involves collecting, transmitting, analysing, managing and sharing it,” says Daryl.

The Russian word Sputnik literally means "co-traveler", "travelling companion" or "satellite". The first Sputnik artificial satellite marked the start of the space age.

About i-RULE
Based in Fairlie, South Canterbury, i-RULE continues to grow on the back of its ground breaking ecommerce, superior niche products, passionate customer word of mouth promotion and 1:1 customer service. Customers actively involve themselves in product design and company direction. Sputnik is the latest example of this strategy. The Sputnik initiative comes on the back of another strong year for the kiwi-designed and made brand. The company is looking to finalise a major business partnership with a Swiss-based corporation for establishing and expanding i-RULE Europe. A formal partnership announcement is expected in early June.

About Zephyr Technology
Zephyr™ is a global market leader in physiological and biomechanical monitoring technology, products and intellectual property. Zephyr’s Smart Fabric technology combines the novel use of garment design, patented algorithms and electronic design to produce a suite of unique products. These products provide solutions for in-field physiological monitoring in extreme movement environments. Zephyr solves the problems associated with monitoring high activity exercise, integration of physiological monitoring technology into garments, and communicating physiological data to the web and devices such as mobile phones and watches.


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